The Supreme Court Monday upheld the constitutional validity of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018. The SC/ST Amendment Act, 2018, rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs.
The Centre had brought in an amendment to the SC/ST Act last year to nullify the effect of the Supreme Court’s judgment of March 2018. The three-Judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran, and Ravindra Bhat had reserved its verdict in the matter on October 3 last year, while hinting that the amendment was likely to be upheld.
In the amended SC/ST Act, preliminary inquiry is not a must and no prior approval is required for appointing authorities for senior police officers to file FIRs in cases of atrocities on SC and ST. Read in Bangla
In its order on March 20, 2018, a bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit had directed that no arrests under the Act could be made without prior permission — from the appointing authority in case of public servants, and from the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) for others — and a preliminary enquiry should be conducted before registration of FIR.
In October last year, the bench had hinted that it will uphold amendments made by the Centre in SC/ST Act to restore immediate arrest and ban anticipatory bail. The Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and B R Gavai, had then said if this was allowed, “the very purpose of the Act is likely to be frustrated. Various complications may arise. Investigation cannot be completed within the specified time, nor trial can be completed as envisaged… delay would be adding to the further plight of the downtrodden class”.
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