The Union Law Ministry on Thursday consented to the Social Justice Ministry’s proposal to challenge the Supreme Court’s recent order on the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities (Prevention) Act, 1989, sources told The Indian Express. The Dalit MPs in the NDA have been mounting pressure on the government to file a review petition against the ruling.
The apex court, on March 20, observed “instances of abuse” of the Act by “vested interests” for political or personal reasons. In light of this, the SC laid down stringent safeguards, including provisions for anticipatory bail and a “preliminary enquiry” before registering a case under the Act.
“To avoid false implication of an innocent, a preliminary enquiry may be conducted by the DSP concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the Atrocities Act and that the allegations are not frivolous or motivated,” ruled a bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit.
A delegation of Dalit MPs had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday to discuss the judgment and voice their concerns. Following the meeting, Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale had stated, “The PM said the government is in the process of filing a review petition once the Law Ministry finishes studying the matter. Our government is doing the most work for welfare of Dalits, unlike other governments who were all talk.”
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The BJP has more than three dozen SC MPs.
Athawale’s Republican Party of India (A) – a BJP ally – meanwhile is filing its own review petition in the SC to challenge the judgment. “…our lawyers feel we should take a stand as a party. In the review petition, we will state that it was after detailed discussions in Parliament that offences under this Act were made non-bailable. By diluting it, atrocities against Dalits will increase,” the Dalit leader from Maharashtra had said.
(With inputs from ENS)