The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on a batch of pleas seeking to declare the fresh amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act made by the Parliament. The court was hearing pleas which alleged that both Houses of Parliament had 'arbitrarily' decided to amend the law and restored previous provisions in such a manner so that an innocent cannot avail the right of anticipatory bail.
A bench of justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan issued notice to the Centre and sought its reply within six weeks.
The Parliament on August 9 had passed a bill to overturn the apex court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe law. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha. It 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 Supreme Court had on March 20 taken note of the rampant misuse of the stringent SC/ST Act against government servants and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.
It had passed a slew of directions and said a public servant can be arrested in cases lodged under the SC/ST Act only after prior approval by the competent authority.