Supreme Court refuses to stay SC/ST ruling

Dalit Groups Call For Punjab Shutdown Tomorrow Buses Internet Suspended

The chief minister appealed to help police maintain law and order during the shutdown

Although there is merit in the court's decision to uphold the citizen's right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, in a society that continues to be dictated by caste equations, it could prove to be a major setback to the ongoing struggle of marginalised communities in India. "Why Modi, who speaks on every subject, even on subjects which people don't want to hear, is silent", said Sharma.

The government subsequently filed a review petition over the Supreme Court's order.

This comes a day after a violent protest during Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups turned violent.

Congress leader and former head of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, P L Punia said the Narendra Modi government's review petition in the Supreme Court on the SC (Prevention of Atrocities) Act would not be of much effect.

The Supreme Court, in its order on March 20, removed the provision for automatic arrests of those accused under the Act. Speaking to reporters, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the Centre had no intention of removing the provision of reservation for minorities.

The AG said it was an emergency situation as large-scale violence had taken place and sought urgent hearing of the review petition today itself.

The apex court's judgement puts an end to immediate arrests in complaints filed under the SC/ST Act provisions.

The chief justice's order came after Attorney General KK Venugopal mentioned the matter seeking the constitution of a bench comprising Justices Goel and Lalit which had pronounced the 20 March judgment.

A bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit, who had pronounced the contentious March 20 order, observed that it was not concerned with the violence that had paralysed the nation since it had not diluted the SC/ST Act.

The ASG submitted that certain complaints were received alleging misuse of the Atrocities Act and a question was also raised in Parliament as to what punishment should be given for filing false cases. "They are being misled by some vested interests so that does not concern us", the bench said.

The Centre has stated in its petition that the changes proposed by the Supreme Court may not only dilute the protection offered to SC/ST communities but would also question the very objective of promulgating the Act.

It has also argued in its defence that the matter in the SC was between a private individual and the state of Maharashtra, allowing it the scope for limited intervention and "only some oral submissions".

The bench said it had not interfered with the Act but merely interpreted it in the context of Section 41 of the CrPC dealing with the provision for arrest of a person only upon proper consideration of a case.

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