SC/ST Act: Centre files written submission in SC

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It said that the apex court should restore the old act that makes implementation of punishment for atrocities on SC/STs as legislated and prescribed by the Parliament.

The Centre has resorted to a major damage control exercise in its review petition filed in the Supreme Court on its judgment on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

All legal options will be explored only after the Supreme Court takes a call on the review petition that the government filed on April 2 against the March 20 judgment, which triggered nationwide Dalit protests.

"Bland statement that "power to declare law carries with it, within the limits of duty, to make law when none exists" is wholly fallacious because we live under a written Constitution of which separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary is the very basic structure and is inviolable", the written submission said.

The Bench had added that it had not touched upon the law in the Act, but merely added safeguards from arrests to protect innocent victims.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, on behalf of the Centre, said the "confusion" created by the apex court judgment deserves to be corrected by reviewing the order.

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It has been alleged that the "dilution" in the Act would spike violence against Dalits.

"The SC/ST act is a special act". The first mandates the seeking of the approval of the appointing authority before an arrest of a public servant can be made, and the approval of the SSP before the arrest of a non-public servant.

"No, they can't work". In Odisha, 3,000 to 3,500 atrocities are committed, out of which only 60 per cent cases are being heard and disposed of, said Odisha Dalit Adhikar Manch ODAM president Manas Jena quoting National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statics, at a State-level convention on the present scenario of dalit rights here on Wednesday. "They might not know what is in the order or they may have been misled with people having vested interest".

The bench had then said it has never directed to acquit or discharge the accused in genuine cases under the Act but have reiterated what is the settled law under the CrPC.

According to media reports, the Centre has also said that the apex court's verdict has damaged the country's harmony. "Provisions of the Act can not be used to terrorise the innocents", the court said. A law placed under the Schedule is not open to judicial scrutiny.

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