SC reverses dilution of SC/ST Act, restores original sections No SC interim order on J&K, hearing in Nov
Says It Ventured Into Domain Of Legislature
New Delhi: One-and-a-half years after its verdict doing away with automatic arrest provision in the law to prevent atrocities against Dalits and tribals, the Supreme Court on Tuesday restored the original dispensation, saying its previous order had strayed into legislative domain.
The dilution of the stringent provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act had sparked protests by Dalits across the country. A vote in Parliament undoing the ruling triggered an upper caste backlash against BJP governments in polls in end-2018 and saw the Centre legislating a quota for economically weaker sections (read upper castes). A two-judge bench, comprising Justices A K Goyal (now retired) and U U Lalit, had in March last year directed that police had to conduct a preliminary enquiry in seven days before taking any action on a complaint and also introduced provision of anticipatory bail, overriding the section that says pre-arrest bail does not apply for offences under the Act. It had said such provision was required to safeguard the interests of the innocent and to prevent misuse of the Act.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to pass an interim order on the decision to bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir into two Union territories and fixed November 14 for hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the scrapping of the state’s special status under Article 370.
The court, however, said it will thoroughly examine the Centre’s decision.
Even as it turned down the plea to restore status quo (J&K’s bifurcation comes into effect on October 31), a fivejudge Constitution bench of Justices N V Ramana, S K Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said: “If the petitions are allowed, can’t the clock be put back?”
The bench made it clear that it would ask the Centre to place all documents before it pertaining to its decision to scrap the special status to
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J&K while granting four weeks to the Centre and J&K administration to file replies.
The bench said “reasonable time” is needed to file the affidavits. It granted one week thereafter to the petitioners to file their counter-affidavit. The SC also said the petitioners should consider approaching the J&K high court.