You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News » National
Business Standard

Supreme Court declines to keep in abeyance March 20 SC/ST verdict

The SC said it has only reiterated settled law of arrest

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

TMC protest protest to condemn the atrocities on Dalits at Parliament in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
TMC protest protest to condemn the atrocities on Dalits at Parliament in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

The on Tuesday rejected the stay on is March 20 verdict on wherein it stated that an anticipatory bail should be granted to the person unless there is a case under the Act. The Bench clarified that the affected person is entitled to the compensation even is registration of FIR is still pending.

SC has listed the Centre's review petition after 10 days for detailed hearing; and asked all the parties to file written submissions by then. The apex court said that provisions of cannot be used to terrorise the innocents. Taking note of the violence that has irupted across the nation, apex court said that people who were agitating had not read the verdict properly and were misled by vested interests. The Court said that it had only reiterated settled law of arrest.

What the said:

"We have only reiterated settled law of arrest", says

The apex court said that provisions of cannot be used to terrorise the innocents.

The court said that people who are agitating have not read the verdict properly and have been misled by vested interests.

SC said it has not diluted any provision of SC/ST Act and only safeguarded interest of innocents from being arrested.

A day after the and Dalit protests, agreeing to hear the Narendra Modi-led government's review petition over its earlier judgment on the Act in an open court, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it was "not against" the SC/ST Act. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with scheduled caste MPs to assure them that the government was doing all it could to protect the rights of Dalits. The Modi government had moved the Supreme Court seeking a recall of its earlier judgment on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) Prevention of Atrocities Act.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has constituted a Bench of judges A K Goel and U U Lalit to hear the matter. The apex court agreed to hear the review petition after Attorney General K K Venugopal referred to the large-scale violence and loss of lives and property during Monday's

Called by Dalit groups, saw people across the country protesting the apparent dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) Prevention of Atrocities Act by the Supreme Court recently. The protests left at least 10 dead and hundreds injured as incidents of violence were reported across several states on Monday. Protesters were reported to have blocked trains, clashed with the police, and set fire to private and public properties, including police posts. Reports say schools will remain shut in Uttar Pradesh's (UP's) Agra, Hapur, and Ghaziabad over the bandh.

While the SC declined an urgent hearing on a writ petition filed by the All India Federation of SC/ST Organisations against the verdict, the Congress demanded that the Centre bring an amendment to the said law in Parliament or file a "curative petition" in the apex court. The government was slated on Tuesday to mention the review petition in the top court for an early hearing.

With the Bharat Bandh protest in Madhya Pradesh (MP) claiming six lives, additional police and anti-riot forces are being deployed across the state. The Dalit protests saw curfew being imposed at several places. The Union Home Ministry, for its part, rushed 800 anti-riot policemen to MP and UP, and asked all states to take preventive steps to maintain public order and ensure the safety of lives and property. Thousands of people were detained following widespread incidents of firing, vandalism, and arson across over 10 states, several of them being BJP-ruled.

The Bharat Bandh call was supported by nearly all Opposition parties, which, along with Dalit organisations and Dalit members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, had criticised the SC order on the SC/ST Act and asked the Centre to file a review petition. While the BJP accused Opposition parties of politicising the issue and contributing to the violence, the Opposition alleged that in several places, particularly in Agra and Gwalior, it was BJP workers who attacked protesters. The Congress, for its part, said that the Centre had taken the Bharat bandh call "lightly", which resulted in the violence.

The Supreme Court had on March 20 watered down certain provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, to protect 'honest' public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act. The verdict is being widely criticised by Dalits and the Opposition who claim that the dilution of the Act will lead to more discrimination and crimes against the backward community.

Here are the top 10 developments in the Bharat Bandh Dalit protests over The Supreme Court's verdict:

1) Rahul Gandhi target PM Modi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "not uttering a word" on the alleged atrocities on Dalits and tribals and "dilution" of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

His remarks at a public meeting here on the fifth leg of his tour of the poll-bound Karnataka came against the backdrop of violence in northern parts of the country during yesterday's protests against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The protests during 'Bharat bandh' against the Supreme Court verdict on the issue claimed at least nine lives and left hundreds of persons injured.

2) Never thought it will become political issue, says Bhaskar Gaikwad: Bhaskar Gaikwad, the original complainant in the SC/ST case over, which a nationwide bandh was organised yesterday, had never thought that his legal fight would attain such a huge political connotation.

The 53-year employee of a government college in Pune said that irrespective of the central government's move, he was planning to file by April 19 a review petition in the Supreme Court against its March 20 order which is seen as diluting the SC/ST Act.

3) Rajasathan violence: Fresh violence broke out in Rajasthan on Tuesday as a 5,000-strong mob set ablaze the houses of a sitting and a former MLA, both Dalits, even as the death toll from yesterday's nationwide stir by Dalit groups rose to 11 with two more persons succumbing to their injuries in Madhya Pradesh.

4) SC says it is not against the SC/ST Act: While hearing Attorney General’s submissions in the Centre's review petition on its verdict on the SC/ST Act, the Supreme Court on Monday observed, "...We are not against the Act. The innocent should not be punished."

Supreme Court agrees for
open-court hearing of Centre's review petition at 2 pm: The apex court will hear the Centre's plea seeking to review its March 20 verdict putting safeguards on arrest under the stringent SC/ST Act at 2 pm today. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the review petition after Attorney General K K Venugopal referred to the large-scale violence and loss of life and property during the nation-wide Bharat Bandh protest. The hearing will be held in open court, according to Bar & Bench.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra agreed to constitute the original Bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit at 2 pm to hear the review plea. The Bench agreed to hear the review petition today itself in open court but Justice Goel asked the AG to mention before the chief justice the constitution of the original Bench comprising him and Justice Lalit. The amicus curie and senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, who had assisted the court in the original SC/ST verdict, opposed the Centre's plea and said the apex court can't hear the review petition just on the ground that large-scale violence has taken place after the verdict. The Bench headed by Justice Goel said it will hear the review plea filed by the Centre.

5) 'BJP stands shoulder to shoulder with Dalit community': Amit Shah on Monday defended his party against the Opposition's criticism regarding the Bharat Bandh and the apparent dilution of the SC/ST Act. "At every juncture and in all possible ways, BJP stands shoulder to shoulder with the Dalit community," Shah tweeted, adding, "Modi Government's commitment to fulfilling Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's vision is unwavering. All the efforts of the government are aimed at transforming the lives of Dalits."

Referring to the verdict that sparked the Dalit protests, Shah wrote that from the day the Supreme Court gave its judgment on the SC/ST Atrocities Act, the government "acted in an immediate and informed manner". Shah added: "An effective review petition has been filed that will protect rights of Dalits."

Amit Shah blames 'vested interests' for spreading rumours about reservations: Calling it an "old" script, Amit Shah said that before every election, "the same vested interest groups start spreading panic about reservations". The BJP President said that his party's stand is clear: "We fully believe in the Constitution given by Babasaheb and the rights it has given to SC/ST communities."

Modi govt strengthened safeguards given to SCs and STs: Amit Shah further said the Modi government had strengthened the safeguards provided to SCs and STs. "Through the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015, the NDA Government has actually strengthened the provisions of the Act," Shah said, adding, "This was done in line with our commitment to the welfare of SC & ST communities."

6) PM Modi meets SC MPs and assures government action: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met MPs belonging to the SC communities and "assured them that the government is doing everything to protect the rights and wellbeing of Dalits", BJP President Amit Shah tweeted.

7) Rajnath says Modi govt not diluting the SC/ST Act: A day after the Bharat Bandh protests, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said that the government is sensitive to the concerns of the backward communities and that it was not responsible for the dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Singh made a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour on the large-scale violence during yesterday's Bharat Bandh. The home minister said eight people were killed -- six in Madhya Pradesh and one each in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan -- during the Bandh, which also witnessed clashes between the police and the protesters. "Through the House, I want to assure the people that there has been no dilution whatsoever by my government, rather after coming to power and examining the SC/ST prevention Atrocities Act, we have taken a decision to strengthen it," he said.

Singh said there have been widespread rumours regarding the issue of reservation, which are "false and baseless" and the government was fully committed to protect the interest of the SC/ST community.

ALSO READ: Bharat Bandh: Death toll rises to 7 in Madhya Pradesh

8) Death toll in Bharat Bandh protests rises to 10: The death toll in Madhya Pradesh following violence during the Bharat Bandh protest rose to seven on Tuesday, news agency ANI reported. This brings the nationwide death toll to 10. As on Monday, at least nine persons were killed and hundreds injured in violence across several states as protesters in the Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups blocked trains, clashed with the police, and set fire to private and public properties, including police posts, officials said. Further, thousands were detained across over 10 states -- several of them in the BJP-ruled ones, including Madhya Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan also saw Dalit protests resulting in deaths, according to officials from these states. The other states hit by violence were Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Delhi.

ALSO READ: Eight dead as Dalit protests turn violent (Intro Roundup)

9) Schools in UP cities shut today over Bharat Bandh: In the wake of the Bharat Bandh protests that turned violent, schools in UP's Hapur and Ghaziabad will remain shut on Tuesday. Schools in Agra will also remain closed. However, schools conducting board examinations in these three cities will remain open.

Read our full coverage on how the Bharat Bandh protest started and carried on through the day: Bharat Bandh: 9 dead, thousands arrested, 1,700 anti-riot personnel at work

10) SSB, STF to be deployed in MP today after six killed in Bharat Bandh: In the wake of violent protests, 16 additional companies of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), four companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), two companies to the Special Task Force (STF), and 3000 trainee constables are being deployed across Madhya Pradesh today. At least six people were killed in Madhya Pradesh during the nation-wide Bharat Bandh protest. Subsequently, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan assured strict action against the perpetrators.

On Monday, after a student leader died in firing and several others were injured, curfew was also imposed in Morena, Gwalior, and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh.

Watch below how Bharat Bandh protesters pelted stones at the police in Bhind:

ALSO READ: RSS refutes criticism for 'Bharat Bandh' violence

ALSO READ: Bharat Bandh: Section 144 imposed in Haridwar

ALSO READ: Dalit protests: Jet, Vistara waive cancellation charges

Watch our video report on the Bharat Bandh protests over the dilution of the SC/ST Act:

With agency inputs

First Published: Tue, April 03 2018. 23:27 IST