Kerala files review petition on atrocities act

Kerala files review petition on atrocities act

The Kerala government has asked the Supreme Court to review the March 20 judgement on Atrocities Act, 1989, saying it has wide ramifications and has created insecurity among people from the SC/ST community.

Though it was not party to the matter, the LDF government filed a plea in the top court.

It maintained that there was error apparent in the face of record of the judgement as the top court failed to appreciate the circumstances in which the SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities), Act 1989 was passed by Parliament.

The state government said it has been settled that no guidelines can be issued where the law is clear.

It pointed out Section 18 of the act, dealing with the bar on anticipatory bail, was the backbone of the law as it enforced an inherent deterrence and instilled a sense of protection among the SC/STs.

"Any dilution thereof would shake the very objective of the mechanism to prevent offences of atrocities," it said.

The state government further said the alleged potential to misuse the act would not deserve to be considered as a valid, justifiable or permissible ground for reading down the stringent provisions of the act.

"If the principle is extended, it would render the criminal law and criminal procedure system toothless and nugatory,"  a review petition, filed by advocate G Prakash, said.

On April 3, the top court refused to keep its March 20 judgement in abeyance, saying it has merely put in safeguards against the arrest of innocent people without diluting any provision of the 1989 law.

It has said there should be no terror in society as right to liberty can be enforced by it.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, for his part, maintained that the victims  from oppressed class need to be protected.

The court had however agreed to hear the submissions in the matter.

Subsequently, Venugopal filed written submissions, claiming that the judgement "dealing with an issue of very sensitive nature caused a lot of commotion, anger, unease and a sense of disharmony".

"Diluting" the provisions of the law has resulted in "great damage" to the country, he had said.

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