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Centre faces demands from Congress, dalit body to seek review of Supreme court verdict on SC/ST Act

The judgement pronounced yesterday was described as unfortunate with the Congress claiming it had led to a "sense of insecurity" among dalits and other oppressed classes.

Reported by: India TV Politics Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: March 21, 2018 21:25 IST ]
Image Source : PTI File

The Congress party on Wednesday demanded that the Centre should seek a review of the judgment of the Supreme Court that protects public servants and private employees from arbitrary arrests under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The judgement pronounced yesterday was described as unfortunate with the Congress claiming it had led to a "sense of insecurity" among dalits and other oppressed classes.

In a bid to protect honest public servants discharging bonafide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Act, the apex court yesterday diluted its stringent provisions mandating immediate arrest under the law.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and said, "PM must not abdicate his duty in favour of the anti-Dalit mindset of the BJP/RSS."

"The SC/ST Act is the most important instrument to prevent atrocities on Dalits/Adivasis. A complicit Modi Govt failed to defend it in the Supreme Court," he added. 

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma asked the government to clarify its stand on the issue, claiming there was a "sense of insecurity" among Dalits and other oppressed classes after the apex court verdict.

"There is serious concern over yesterday's decision of the Supreme Court. If it is not reviewed, it will be very unfortunate. There is a feeling on insecurity among the SC/STs and other oppressed classes. We feel there should be a review of this decision which will be in national interest.

"Why is the government silent on this issue. Government should clarify its stand and should present its version before the Supreme Court through the Attorney General. If the government remains silent, it means that the government supports the decision," Sharma told reporters.

A member of the AICC, Shankar Swaroop demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in the issue. 

"This is clearly a BJP-RSS conspiracy to suppress the Dalits in the country. Why is the PM silent?," asked Swaroop.

"PM Modi and the BJP should step in and ask for a review of the verdict," he added.

Swaroop also feared that the reservation for the community could be in danger in the future. 

The Chief Whip of Congress in Lok Sabha, Jyotiraditya Scindia, said the BJP and RSS want to end reservation and neither the prime minister nor any minister in the government has so far given any clarification the issue.

Congress Communications incharge Randeep Sujewala claimed that the Centre and the Maharashtra Government, which were a party to the case, did not present their point of view properly.

He alleged that there was a rise in the number of cases of atrocities against dalits and other oppressed in society.

He said either this verdict should be reviewed or a fresh amendment be made in the Act.

Along with the Congress, the executive committee of the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) appealed to the Centre to challenge the judgement, arguing it would have a "negative impact" on the concept of social justice.

The manch demanded that the Centre file a review petition immediately so that the SC/ST Act remains effective, general secretary of the organisation and former MP Ramchandra Dom said in a statement.

"This judgement has a negative impact on the concept of social justice which is a basic principle enshrined in the Constitution," he said.

The Supreme Court has "most unfortunately" modified Section 18 of the Act in the name of misuse'. The truth is that in cases of atrocities against SCs and STs not only is the conviction rate "very low" but there is "delay at every stage" from filing chargesheets to proceeding with the matters in court, he claimed.

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