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SC upholds constitutional validity of SC/ST Amendment Act, 2018

Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018 that ruled out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs.

Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: February 10, 2020 11:07 IST
Supreme Court

Supreme Court

Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018 that ruled out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs.

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.

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.

Earlier, the Centre stated that the judgment diluting the stringent provision of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and stating that arrest on a complaint under the law was not mandatory had "seriously affected their (SC/ST) morale and confidence in the ability of the state to protect them".

Article 21, which guarantees protection of life and personal liberty, says: "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by the law."

While ruling that there would be no mandatory arrest of an accused on a complaint under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the apex court by its March 20 judgement had directed "...in absence of any other independent offence calling for arrest, in respect of offences under the Atrocities Act, no arrest may be effected" without the permission of appointing authority in case of public servant or that of Senior Superintendent of Police in case of general public".

The court had said it was providing the safeguard "in view of acknowledged abuse of law of arrest" under the Act.

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