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SC/ST Act: Tamil Nadu Govt. to File Review Petition

19 April 2018

Introducing a bill in the monsoon session of Parliament slated for July to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 to overturn the SC order is the second option before the government, the sources said.

Referring to the nationwide protests that the order sparked, the Tamil Nadu government said that the recent judgment has resulted in an unrest in society and that it will dilute the objectives of the Act.

On March 20, however, the Supreme Court said that the arrest of an accused under the SC/ST Act is not mandatory and recourse to coercive action would take place only after preliminary inquiry and sanction by the competent authority.

Dalit groups have, however, vehemently protested against the verdict, saying it dilutes the law and will lead to a rise in cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes and tribes.

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The judgement sparked massive protests across India, with a nationwide bandh called on April 2.

The Chhattisgarh government has put on hold an order which was issued by the police headquarters to implement the top court's order.

While the Centre has already filed a review plea, a top BJP leader told reporters that the party's central leadership has spoken to the chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajsthan, where police chiefs were asked to implement the 20 March order, to keep in abeyance the decision and move the court with their review pleas. "We will strongly put forth our arguments in Supreme Court", said Chief Minister Raman Singh.

Sources aware of deliberations within the government at different levels say promulgating an ordinance to restore the original provisions would help calm tempers, reports PTI. As far as states are concerned, they are also on board.

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The apex court had said that even laws under the Ninth Schedule would be open to scrutiny if they violated fundamental rights or the basic structure of the Constitution.

After the judgement, various Dalit MPs from the BJP-led ruling NDA alliance, including Ram Vilas Paswan and Ramdas Athawale, had met Modi to expresses their concerns and demanded that the Centre should challenge the order.

On Tuesday, the order issued by the Rajasthan home department directing the police to implement the Supreme Court order was taken back.

Modi has also asserted that his government will not allow any dilution of the law to prevent atrocities against SCs and STs.

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SC/ST Act: Tamil Nadu Govt. to File Review Petition