Tamil Nadu is the second state after Kerala to file a review petition over the apex court’s March 20 ruling.

 SC verdict resulted in unrest in society TN seeks review of SCST Act order
news Law Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 16:47

Nearly a month after the Supreme Court’s order that was vehemently opposed for diluting the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Tamil Nadu government has moved the apex court seeking a review.

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.

The SC/ ST Act was enacted by Parliament in 1989 for the protection of people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in India. The Act punishes crimes against people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes in addition to providing special protections and rights to victims of atrocities and caste-based discrimination.

Originally, the Act allowed for the immediate arrest of suspected offenders upon a complaint and denied anticipatory bail.

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.

The court also 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".

The judgement sparked massive protests across India, with a nationwide bandh called on April 2. Several Dalit groups in the country held demonstrations, calling for a repeal of the order.

The central government subsequently filed a review petition over the Supreme Court's order. Seeking the judgment's recall, the government said it "entails wide ramifications and implications resulting in dilution of the stringent provisions" of the 1989 law.

Tamil Nadu is the second state to file a petition on the matter. Kerala filed a review petition on April 14, stating that “Section 18 of the PoA Act is the backbone of the Act as it enforces an inherent deterrence and instils sense of protection amongst members of SCs and STs. Any dilution thereof would shake the very objective of mechanism to prevent offences of atrocities. with regard to the matter.”

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