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‘Bharat Bandh’ on SC/ST ruling: All you need to know (Relevant for GS prelims, GS mains Paper I)

– The NDA government today filed a petition seeking review of the Supreme Court order diluting the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which protects marginalised communities against discrimination and atrocities. Supreme court has refused to review the petition in fast track manner.

– In the review petition drafted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Centre is likely to contend that the order will weaken the provisions of the Act, thereby reducing the fear of law, which may result in more violations.

Supreme Court Judgement
On March 20, the Supreme Court banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the SC/ST Act, triggering widespread criticism and outcry from the dalit  community.

  • The apex court said public servants can’t be prosecuted without the approval of the appointing authority, and private citizens too should be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.
  • It further ruled that preliminary inquiry in a case under the Act would be conducted by the Deputy Superintendent of Police to ensure the allegations are not frivolous.

Rationale behind the judgement
The amendment in the law was a bid to protect honest public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act.

View of Political Parties and Dalit organisations
However, dalit organisations and some political parties fear the dilution of the provisions of the Act might lead to increase in violence against Dalits.

After holding agitations over the last few days to protest against the top court’s ruling on the SC/ST Act, several dalit outfits have called for a Bharat Bandh today.

(Adapted from The Times of India)

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