SC/ST Act verdict: Centre considering various options, including ordinance

Agencies/New Delhi
April 16, 2018 NATIONAL 56 Views

There is a need to overturn the Supreme Court order laying down fresh guidelines on arrest of those accused of committing atrocities against SC and ST communities, the government feels, and bringing an ordinance to restore the original provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is one of the options being considered.
Sources aware of deliberations within the government at different levels say promulgating an ordinance to restore the original provisions would help calm tempers.
Introducing a bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament slated for July to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 to overturn the SC order is the second option before the government, the sources said.
“If an ordinance is issued, it too will have to be converted into a bill and passed by Parliament. The result of the two exercises is the same — to restore the original provisions. But the ordinance has the benefit of giving instant results. It will help calm tempers immediately,” a senior functionary said.
Dalit groups had organised protests across the country on April 2 against the alleged dilution of the Act through the March 20 verdict of the Supreme Court. The protests had turned violent at several places which left several people dead.
Opposition parties also accused the government of failing to protect Dalit rights.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted his government will not let the law to prevent atrocities on SCs and STs to be diluted.
“I want to assure the nation that the law which has been made stringent by us will not allowed to be affected (by the SC order)…,” he had said.
But the sources said no decision has been taken so far and much would depend on the way the hearing on a review petition filed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in the apex court progresses.

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