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Supreme Court upholds SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendments Act

Supreme Court upholds SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendments Act

Tag:GS2 || Governance & Social Justice  || Vulnerable Sections || Scheduled Castes

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court recalled the two directions passed last year by its two-judge bench which diluted the provisions of arrest under the atrocities act.
  • The apex court’s three-judge bench restored the earlier position of the law.

About the SC, ST Prevention of atrocities amendment act,1989:

  • Also known as SC and ST act or prevention of atrocities act or the atrocities act.
  • Enacted to prevent atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
  • The police must file a first information report(FIR) and arrest the accused on receiving a complaint.

 Was the SC st successful?

  • A number of cases of misuse of this act had been reported from different parts of the country.
  • In 2016, the conviction rate under the act was 25.7% in cases of atrocities against SC and 8% in cases against ST, according to the national crime records bureaus.

 The 2018 verdict of S.C:

  • On 20 March 2018, the supreme court of India ruled that
    • No arrest can be made without permission.
    • Allowed a court to grant anticipatory bail if it prima facie, finds the complaint an abuse of the law.
  • Its aim was to protect innocents from arbitrary arrest.
  • The court had said such protective provision was required to safeguard the interests of the innocent and to prevent misuse of the Act as an instrument to blackmail.

Protests against the decision:

  • On 2 April 2018, a national strike was announced by the representative of sc and st groups.
  • Thousands took to streets and protested across India against this order.
  • In subsequent violence, 10/14 peoples died and hundreds were injured.

 Government bypasses judiciary:

  • In August 2018, the parliament of India passed the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (prevention of atrocities) amendment bill 2018 to bypass the ruling of the supreme court.
  • The bill inserts sections
    • 18A(1)(a) in the 1989 act, that says a preliminary inquiry shall not be required for registration of an FIR against any person.
    • Section 18A(1)(b) which says the investigating officer shall not require approval for the arrest.

 Present ruling of SC:

  • Supreme court upholds SC/ST Prevention of atrocities amendment act – “can’t presume that Dalits, tribals may misuse the law.”
  • Criticizing the march 2018 verdict the bench of justices Arun Mishra, Mr shah and BR Shah and BR gauvi said that it is contrary to legislative intent and not at all statutorily envisaged.
  • It said making such a presumption would be “adding insult to injury” to those who have suffered discrimination from age.
  • It has partially recalled its verdict saying the fight for equality and civil rights of the Dalits is not over yet.

 Concluding remarks of the judgment:

  • We conclude with a pious hope that a day would come as expected by the framers of the constitution when we do not require any such legislation like act of 1989 and there is no need to provide for any reservation to SC/STs/OBCs and only one class of human exist equal in all aspects and no caste system or class of SCs/STs or OBCs exist , all citizens are emancipated and become equal as per constitutional goal.

 References: