Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

All options including ordinance route being explored to restore SC/ST Act: Paswan

All options including ordinance route being explored to restore SC/ST Act: Paswan

Paswan, who has often aired this view within the government, expressed hope that the apex court would allow the government's review plea against its order which, many argue, dilutes the legislation's stringent provisions.

Given that the success rate of review petitions in the Supreme Court is low, one of the options before the government is to bring an amendment that notifies these provisions within the relevant schedule of the Constitution.

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.

The review petion was filed by the Centre on April 2 amid a countrywide unrest after several Dalit organisations called a Bharat Bandh in protest against what they alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act.

The submission came on a plea seeking recall of the court's March order where it said that no arrest would be effected on a complaint under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, without an inquiry. It triggered a row and the Centre has since filed a review in the SC while Congress and other opposition parties accused the Centre of being slack in court.

The bench had also clarified that there was no dilution of any provision of the SC/ST Act or Rules and a compensation can be paid to the alleged victims of atrocities even prior to the registration of FIR under the law.

The judgment made it mandatory for the appointing authority (in the case of a public servant) to sanction the arrest before the police officer can exercise his jurisdiction under the Atrocities Act or the Code of Criminal Procedure. "No relief can be given to the SC/ST community without protecting the fundamental rights of an innocent person", Justice Goel had said.

According to media reports, the Centre has also said that the apex court's verdict has damaged the country's harmony.

Official sources said an ordinance can be brought if the top court rejects the government's review petition.

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