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As pressure mounts, Centre to file review plea on SC/ST ruling today | India News

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NEW DELHI: Amid mounting criticism and strike calls, the Centre will file a petition on Monday seeking review of the Supreme Court judgment diluting the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The petition will be filed on a day several organisations, with support of some political parties, have called for countrywide bandh in protest against the SC order.

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted, “Review petition by the government against the SC judgment on SC/ST Act shall be filed positively tomorrow, Monday, April 2.” The government is likely to tell the top court that the order banning automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of SCs/STs will dilute the law which aims to protect the marginalised.

Sources said in its review petition, the social justice ministry is likely to say that the order will weaken provisions of the Act. The ministry is likely to plead that the order will reduce the fear of law and may result in more violations, the sources said.

According to government sources, the decision was taken after a discussion among the ministries of law and social justice. The social justice ministry will file the review petition.

While meeting Dalit MPs, Prime Minister Modi had recently assured that the government was going through the SC order and a review petition was being considered. However, protests escalated with Dalit organisations hitting the streets and the opposition painting the government as anti-Dalit. Sources said the decision was taken to file the petition immediately to assuage enraged Dalit organisations and assure them that the government was serious about protecting their rights.

A delegation of NDA’s SC and ST MPs, led by LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and social justice minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, had met Modi last week to discuss the apex court’s judgment. Gehlot recently wrote to law minister Prasad seeking a review plea against the SC verdict.

Gehlot said the SC/ST Act was passed by Parliament and upheld by the courts and should stay as it is. He told TOI that in all criminal cases, cases were lodged in normal course and there was no provision for inquiry by a DSP level officer before filing the FIR. So, making this provision of preliminary inquiry under SC/ST Act was not justice friendly.

Updated: April 1, 2018 — 10:46 pm

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