SC Refuses To Stay Amendments Made To SC/ST Act

SC Refuses To Stay Amendments Made To SC/ST Act

The Supreme Court today refused to stay the amendments made to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act which restored the no anticipatory bail provision for the accused.

A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri said the pending review petition filed by the Centre against the apex court's March 20, 2018 verdict and the pleas challenging the new amendments made in the SC/ST verdict will be taken up together. The bench referred the matter to the Chief Justice for reconstitution of a bench which Justice U U Lalit was a part of.

Justice Lalit was part of a bench which had passed the March 20, 2018 verdict, taking note of the alleged misuse of the SC/ST Act against government servants and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.

The PIL challenging the 2018 Amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 has been moved , inter alia, by Advocates Prathviraj Chauhan and Priya Sharma.

The grievance of the petitioners arises from the fact that even as the review of the controversial verdict of the Supreme Court in Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan lies pending, the Amendment was cleared by the Parliament on August 9, rendering the judgment redundant.

By way of the Amendment, a new section 18A has been inserted in the Act of 1989, which does away with the court-imposed requirements of undertaking preliminary inquiry and of procuring approval prior to making an arrest. It also restores the unconditional ban on the grant of anticipatory bail in the event of an offence under the Act.

The decision in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan was followed by massive unrest across the nation, in the wake of which the Union of India and several state governments had sought a review of the same. However, the bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U. U. Lalit had refused to relent.

(With PTI inputs)