Parliament Thursday passed a Bill to reverse the effects of a Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes law, with the Rajya Sabha unanimously adopting the legislation. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote, got the nod of the Lok Sabha on August 6.
The Bill rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs, notwithstanding any court order. It provides that no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval. The legislation also provides that no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law.
Replying to the debate on the Bill in the Upper House, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot said that all those who spoke on the Bill had supported it. He said that members had expressed some apprehensions about the rights of deprived classes. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured his government’s commitment towards (interests of) backward classes. I today say that we are committed towards safeguarding their interest,” he said.
“Some members have suggested constitution of special courts for the Act. We have made a provision for this in the Bill. As many as 14 states have constituted 195 special courts for deciding cases related to SC/SC Act. Some states have declared district and session courts as special court for the purpose,” he added.
Elaborating on the Bill, he said, “We have provided for presenting a challan in court within two months of the first information report with complete investigation. We have also provided for disposal of the case within two months of presenting the challan in court.”
During the debate, some members were of the view that the government had brought the amendment Bill under pressure from the opposition and coalition partners ahead of the proposed nationwide protest later this month to demand restoration of provisions of the law.