Ordinance likely if Supreme Court rejects Centre's SC/ST case review plea


The Centre said to SC that it has resorted to judicial legislation and the judgement goes against the criminal procedure code, reports said.

"We felt that the government's law officers could not effectively and clearly put the Centre's views on this before the court when the matter was being heard", the minister said.

The Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act, 1989 was amended to ensure speedy justice to victims.

This gave rise to a controversy on March 20, 2018 three issues came in front of Supreme Court where there were instances of exploiting of the SC/ST Act against government servants.

Stressing that the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary was "inviolable", the attorney general asked the Supreme Court to review its judgment and recall the changes it made to the Act's provisions.

"This case, dealing with the issue of very sensitive nature, has caused a lot of commotion in the country and is also creating anger, unease and a sense of disharmony", it said.

On April 3, the apex court declined to stay its ruling, which activists say has diluted the law aimed at preventing atrocities on Dalits and tribes, as it asserted that it wanted to protect innocent people from being punished.

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.

Dalit groups have been protesting the apex court order, which has allowed provision for anticipatory bail and introduced safeguards for accused. Else, sources said, the government could just bring amendment strengthening the SC/ST Atrocities Act.

He said the Centre's review petition can not be an appeal against the March 20 verdict unless there is a patent error and that no provision of the Act has been diluted.

It has been alleged that the "dilution" in the Act would spike violence against Dalits. It held that a public servant can only be arrested after approval of the appointing authority. The ordinance route would be taken in case the Supreme Court refuses to review its judgment, he also said.