SC/ST ruling led to damage and disharmony

Govt can promulgate Ordinance on SC-ST Act: Paswan

Govt can promulgate Ordinance on SC-ST Act: Paswan

"This judgment has diluted, for the reasons stated, the provisions of the Atrocities Act read with the Code, resulting in great damage to the country". He further added that the "confusion" created by the apex court verdict may have to be corrected by reviewing the judgement and recalling the directions issued by the apex court.

It said the top court's verdict, which had dealt with an issue of a "very sensitive nature", has caused "commotion", "anger, unease and a sense of disharmony" in the country. He emphasized that the separation of powers among the legislature, executive and judiciary was "inviolable".

It had said the only offences mentioned in the SC/ST Act were the subject matter of the judgement and other cognisable offences under IPC would not require inquiry before registration of FIR.

The bench comprising Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit resumed hearing in the case against which the Centre had filed a review petition following nation-wide Bharat Bandh and ten deaths in the ensuing violence.

The Centre also urged the court to immediately revoke the changes made to the Act so that the law to do with punishment for atrocities on SC/STs is implemented as prescribed by Parliament. Reports said that the government contended that the entire judgment was "vitiated" as the decision was taken on the basis that it can legislate, and has power "to make law when none exists".

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Again on Section 18 of the Act that refused anticipatory bail to an accused, the court's direction which said that such a provision will apply only where a genuine case is made out was held to fall foul of a 1995 decision of the apex court which upheld the constitutional validity of Section 18 of the Act. The court had said that before an arrest of a public servant under the Act, an approval had to be sought from the appointing authority. "We have not diluted any provision of SC/ST Act and only safeguarded interest of innocents from being arrested".

The Supreme Court had ruled that complaints under the SC/ST Atrocities Act should be first validated by due administrative processes before any arrest is carried out.

"No, they can't work. Provisions of the Act can not be used to terrorise the innocents", the court said.

This has sparked off nationwide agitations, with the opposition taking to streets charging the government with inaction and lack of commitment to correct the situation brought about by the SC order.

The bench said through the verdict, some filters have been put in place, which are not against the basic tenet of law.

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