In March, a Supreme Court ruling had diluted provisions of the Act, which led to massive furore.

Centre approves Bill to reverse Supreme Courts dilution of SCST ActApril 2 protest in Kerala
news Law Wednesday, August 01, 2018 - 19:24

The Cabinet on Wednesday reportedly gave its nod to introduce a Bill to amend the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, provisions of which the Supreme Court had diluted in April.

This comes just before the Bharat Bandh, scheduled for August 9, called by Dalit groups across the country.

On March 20, a two-member of the Supreme Court said that the arrest of an accused under the SC/ST Act is not mandatory and recourse to coercive action would only be after a preliminary inquiry was conducted and was sanctioned by the competent authority. The bench, comprising Justices Adarsh Goel and UU Lalit said, that there was no "absolute bar against grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act if no prima facie case is made out or where on judicial scrutiny the complaint is found to be prima facie mala fide".

According to the SC, a public servant could only be prosecuted after prior sanction.

The bill will be introduced in Parliament in the ongoing session. According to the Times of India, the amendment will remove the requirement for preliminary enquiry for both filing an FIR as well as to arrest someone. Section 438 of the CrPC (direction for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest) also will not apply, the report added.

Lok Janshakti Party and Union Minister president Ram Vilas Paswan, Dalit BJP MPs and MPs who belonged to tribal communities demanded that the Supreme Court order be rolled back. Paswan’s son and MP Chirag Paswan had said that the government should introduce the Bill by August 9.

Soon after the Supreme Court order, there was a nationwide protest on April 2, where thousands of Dalits, joined by political parties took to the streets demanding that the provisions be reversed. They criticised the SC ruling, stating that it diluted the Act which aims to protect the marginalised.

Read: Explainer: What is the furore over the SC/ST Act about?

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