File review plea against apex court ruling on SC/ST Act, Opposition tells govt

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 23, 2018

Congress President Rahul Gandhi leads a party protest outside Parliament on Friday, against a recent Supreme Court ruling allegedly diluting provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act   -  PTI

The Opposition protested in both Houses of Parliament on Friday, urging the Centre to file a review petition in the Supreme Court against its recent verdict regarding the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Opposition leaders said the ruling dilutes the aims and principles of the law, and the Centre should intervene as atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis had allegedly increased under the present regime.

Congress MPs demonstrated in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Parliament House, and alleged that the Centre did not argue properly in the case. “The BJP government’s reign has seen other atrocities, especially against the youth in the form of Rohit Vemula, the Una floggings, the rape of Dalit girls, the murders of infants in Sunped, Haryana, or the Saharanpur violence. The BJP leadership in every State has either played an instrumental role or turned a blind eye [in such incidents],” alleged Congress MP and former Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, PL Punia.

The CPI(M) Politburo Bureau said the apex court order has made the arrest and prosecution of those accused under the Act almost impossible. “It is unfortunate that the Centre’s counsel did not respond properly and raise objections against the dilution of the provisions of the Act. Unless immediate remedial measures are taken by the Central government to undo the damage done by the judgement, the forces inimical to social equality and justice will be further emboldened to perpetrate violence against Dalits,” it said.

The apex court had on Tuesday diluted stringent provisions mandating immediate arrest under the law concerned in a bid to protect honest public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the SC/ST Act.

Naidu unhappy

Chairman of Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu expressed displeasure over the three weeks of disruptions in the Upper House. He said he hasn’t seen such distressing events in his long stint in public life. “All the sections of the House need to introspect as to why as the Upper House of Parliament, we have let down the people of the country for three long weeks,” he said.

“For how long do you keep justifying the present wrong based on those of the past? For how long do you justify the present mistakes based on those of the past? People of the country are aspiring for a certain change. Should the change not begin with the Rajya Sabha, the House of Elders?” he asked.

Published on March 23, 2018

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