The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the review petition filed by the Central government against its judgment which had diluted the stringent provisions under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra heard the petition which was referred to it by a two-judge bench last week.
The Centre had filed the review petition asking it to rethink its verdict after a backlash from the SC/ST community against the decision, which resulted in widespread protests across the country.
A two-judge bench had, on March 2018, passed a slew of directions, directing that a public servant could be arrested in cases lodged under the SC/ST Act "only after prior approval by the competent authority".
The apex court had held that there will be no automatic arrest on a complaint filed under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. It also introduced the anticipatory bail provision and a preliminary probe by the police before the arrest of the accused.
The Centre had filed the petition in the court and later made amendments in the Act to overcome the top court's order. The implementation of the amendment in the law was not stayed by the court.
The court is seized of a bunch of other petitions opposing amendments to the Act passed by the Parliament that rule out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs. The pleas alleged that Parliament had "arbitrarily" amended the law.
The amendments provide that no preliminary inquiry would be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.
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