SC decision on reviewing 2018 SC/ST Act verdict on Tuesday

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday will pronounce its verdict on Centre’s plea to review its 2018 judgement, virtually diluting the provisions of arrest under the SC/ST Act.

On September 18, the apex court had criticized the verdict delivered in March 2018, by its two-judge bench. The court had also observed whether a judgment, which is against the essence of the Constitution, could be passed.

A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, M.R. Shah and B.R. Gavai is scheduled to pronounce the verdict. The court had indicated at passing directions at reinforcing equality according to the provisions of the law. It observed people belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, since Independence, have been subjected to discrimination and untouchability.

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Making a strong observation on manual scavenging, the court had nowhere in the world people are sent to gas chambers to die.

“It is against the spirit of the Constitution. Can an order be passed against the statute and the Constitution just because there is abuse of the law?” it asked.

The top court had told Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, despite 70 years after the Independence, the government has not been able to protect the SC/ST people.

The 2018 verdict, by the two-judge bench, had directed that a preliminary enquiry to be conducted by a DSP-rank officer to ascertain if the allegations qualify for lodging a case under the SC/ST Act and also probe if allegations are frivolous or motivated.

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Venugopal told the court that 2018 judgment did not reflect the spirit of the Constitution.

“We will pass certain directions to bring in equality,” said the court, reserving its order.

The apex court on September 13, had referred to a three-judge bench the Centre’s plea, filed nearly 18 months ago, seeking review of its judgment.

The March 20, 2018 verdict had led to massive protests across the country. Then, the Parliament had to pass the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018, to counterbalance the judgment.

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