SC refers to 3-judge bench plea related to SC/ST Act

SC refers to 3-judge bench plea related to SC/ST Act

The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a three-judge bench a review petition filed by the Union government against the March 20, 2018, judgement that had “diluted” the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention to Atrocities) Act, 1989, by bringing in anticipatory bail and prior inquiry before arrest of the accused.

“Considering the importance of the matter, we feel that these matters should be heard by a three-Judge bench,” Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit said in an order.

The court directed for listing of the matter next week.

It had on May 1 reserved its verdict after wrapping up the hearing in the matter. The Union government, for its part, had restored the stringent provisions, after a huge political furore.

Parliament on August 9, 2018, had passed the Amendment Act to overturn the apex court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the law.

The court had earlier refused to stay the operation of the amendment to the law brought in after the top court's judgement.

The Centre had maintained that the matter concerned the communities which faced thousands of years atrocities, suppression and oppression. It had cited statistics to indicate various instances of Dalits' still facing discrimination in the country.

A batch of petitions were also filed by Prathvi Raj Chauhan and others, challenging the validity of the amendment.

Justice A K Goel, who authored the March 20, 2018 judgement in the bench comprising Justice Lalit, had superannuated. The court had then found rampant misuse of the stringent SC/ST Act and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.