House clears bill to reverse SC verdict on SC/ST Act

The Rajya Sabha passed the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, with voice votes after members debated on its provisions. PTI file photo

Parliament on Thursday passed a bill to reverse a Supreme Court verdict, which had diluted the provisions of the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by putting a restriction on the immediate arrest of any person on the filing of a complaint under the law.

 

The Rajya Sabha passed the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, with voice votes after members debated on its provisions.

 

The Lok Sabha had already passed the bill on August 6.

 

Holding a press conference later outside Parliament, Union minister Ramvilas Paswan hailed the passage of the amendment bill from Parliament and slammed the Opposition.  

 

He said the passage of the bill has come as "a tight slap" on the face of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and "all others who were trying to brand Prime Minister Narendra Modi as anti-Dalit and create a negative perception about him and the national democratic alliance (NDA) government."

 

He also targeted BSP supremo Mayawati on the issue, saying it was her who had diluted the provisions of Act in 2007 by introducing several provisions, including one which provided for an enquiry by a senior officer on complaints before lodging of FIRs under the law. Mayawati was then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

 

Dalit leaders cutting across party lines had demanded for reversing the apex court verdict.

 

Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) had even threatened to quit the NDA if the Modi government failed to take steps to nullify the Supreme Court verdict.

 

The LJP had also demanded for bringing an ordinance to override the apex court's verdict in view of a nationwide resentment among the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities over the apex court's judgement.

 

"I thank the prime minister for bringing this amendment bill," Paswan said.

 

The LJP along with the Dalit Sena will organise felicitation functions across the country in honour of the prime minister, starting with Delhi on August 11, he added.

 

During a debate on the bill in the Rajya Sabha, Congress member Abir Ranjan Biswas said the government brought the amendment bill due to the pressure of the Opposition and its coalition partners.

 

"We are supporting the bill but the genuinity of feelings of the government are fake. They have brought the bill only after 9 people were killed and many injured in a nationwide protest against Supreme Court judgment," he said.

 

While replying to the debate, however, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot rejected the charge, saying the bill was not brought due to "any pressure."

 

The bill was brought because of the prime minister's "commitment" towards safeguarding the interests of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe community members.

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House clears bill to reverse SC verdict on SC/ST Act

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