The Maharashtra government on Saturday said it will file a review petition in the Supreme Court’s recent decision that protects public servants and private employees from arbitrary arrests under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Social Welfare Minister Rajkumar Badole made the announcement as Dalit groups stepped up the demand for a review of the judgment of the Supreme Court.
Badole said the Attorney General is likely to represent the Maharashtra government in the review petition.
In order to ‘protect honest public servants’ discharging bonafide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act, the apex court’s judgment, pronounced on March 20, had diluted its stringent provisions mandating immediate arrest.
Contending that there was a “rising sense of insecurity” among Dalits and other backward classes after the apex court verdict, various Dalit outfits joined hands on Saturday to raise a call for a Bharat bandh on April 2. On Friday, representatives of the outfits who have declared support to the protest met in Dadar to discuss plans for the protest.
Political outfits – the Prakash Ambedkar-led Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, the Peasants and Workers Party, the Janata Dal, and the Communist Party of India – and Left-backed unions including the Centre of Indian Trade Unions have come out in support of the protest. The Rashtriya Seva Dal, the Jati Aant Sangharsh Samiti, the Sanvidhan Sanvardhan Samiti, and National Dalit Movement for Justice, among others have also joined the protest.
The protesting groups argued that a decision to hold the Bharat bandh had been taken after the BJP-led government did not respond to the demand for seeking a review of the SC judgment.
In Mumbai, the protestors have said that a symbolic march would be carried out from Dadar’s Kotwal Udyan to Chaityabhoomi on the day of the bandh.
The Indian National Congress, too, has joined those demanding a review of the SC order.