Parl passes bill on SC/ST law

Parliament today passed a bill to overturn a Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe law, with the Rajya Sabha unanimously adopting it amid din.
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote, had got the nod of the Lok Sabha on August 6.
The bill rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs, notwithstanding any court order.
It provides that no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.
The legislation also provides that no preliminary enquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.
Replying to the debate on the bill in the Upper House, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot said all those who spoke on the bill have supported it.
He said that after the implementation of the law, people belonging to SC/ST communities were able to get justice and relief.
“However, some people went to court due to some reason. On 20 March 2018, Supreme Court gave some decisions which put brakes on the Act implemented by us,” he said, referring to the provisions related to filing of FIR and arrest.
“Due to these controls, the criminals started getting protection and the affected families stopped getting justice and relief,” Gehlot said.
The Minister said there was also scope of interference in the police procedures and therefore the Government filed a review petition, which was accepted.
He said the members have expressed some apprehensions about the rights of the deprived classes. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured his Government’s commitment towards (the interests of) backward classes. I today say that we are committed towards safeguarding their interest.”
“Some members have suggested constitution of special courts for the Act. We have made a provision for this in the bill. As many as 14 States have constituted 195 special courts for deciding cases related to SC and SC Act. Some states have declared District and Session Courts as special court for the purpose,” he said.
Elaborating on the bill, he said “we have provided for presenting a challan in the court within two months of first information report with complete investigation. We have also provided for disposal of the case with two month of presenting challan in the court.”
The Minister also maintained that the amendment in this bill was not brought due to “any pressure” because it was the Prime Minister’s commitment. (PTI)