SC again refuses to stay SC/ST Act amendments

A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit said the issue requires hearing in detail and it will be appropriate if all matters are heard on February 19. (Reuters File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused again to stay the 2018 amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention to Atrocities) Act which had restored the stringent provisions in the special law, “diluted” by the top court in a judgement on March 20, 2018.

A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Indu Malhotra fixed February 19 as the date for the hearing of the review petition filed by the Union government against the March 20, 2018 judgement as well as fresh petitions filed by Prithvi Raj Chauhan and others, challenging the validity of the amendment.

“The issue required hearing in detail,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh urged the court to stay amendment brought in to restore the provisions denying anticipatory bail and preliminary inquiry before arresting a person accused of an offence under the special law.

The top court had earlier last week refused the similar plea for staying the amendment. The court had then said it was more appropriate that the fresh petitions against the amendment and the review petition against the judgement should be heard together.

Justice A K Goel, who authored the March 20, 2018 judgement in the bench comprising Justice Lalit, had already superannuated. The court's judgement bringing in provision of anticipatory bail and mandating a preliminary inquiry before the arrest of a person accused of an offence under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act had caused widespread furore across the country.

The Union Government, subsequently, passed an amendment to the law restoring the stringent provisions in the 1989 law.

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SC again refuses to stay SC/ST Act amendments

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