SC again refuses to stay the amendments to SC/ST Act; Matter to be heard on Feb 19

Supreme Court: The Court once gain refused to stay amendments to the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act) that restored the no anticipatory bail provision and said all matters including the Centre’s review petition will be heard on February 19. It said that the issue requires hearing in detail and it will be appropriate if all matters are heard together.

Earlier, a bench headed by Justice Dr, AK Sikri had refused to stay the proposed amendments to the SC/ST Act and said that the pleas challenging the new amendments made in the SC & ST verdict will be taken up together with the review petition filed against the  March 20, 2018 order and referred the matter to the Chief Justice for reconstitution of a bench which Justice UU Lalit was a part of.

On March 20, 2018, the bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit, JJ acknowledged the abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (the Atrocities Act) and said:

“the legislature never intended to use the Atrocities Act as an instrument to blackmail or to wreak personal vengeance nor was it intended to deter public servants from performing their bona fide duties.”

The bench had held that an accused is certainly entitled to show to the Court, if he apprehends arrest, that case of the complainant was motivated. If it can be so shown there is no reason that the Court is not able to protect liberty of such a person. There cannot be any mandate under the law for arrest of an innocent. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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