SC denies to stay on SC/ST order: Govt. says SC stepping into domain of legislation

SC denies to stay on SC/ST order: Govt. says SC stepping into domain of legislation

New Delhi: Brushing aside the Centre’s charge that the verdict marked an interruption into the sphere of the legislature and rewriting of the law, the Supreme Court of India yesterday denied yet again to stay its March 20 verdict diluting the provision of compulsory arrest under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Making a strong pitch, K.K Venugopal said, “Our Constitution provides for separation of power between legislature, executive and judiciary. But the SC, in this case, stepped into the legislative domain by introducing a preliminary enquiry when the law mandated registration of FIR and providing for anticipatory bail which was absent in the act. In addition, the bench provided that if the DSP registered an FIR without conducting a preliminary enquiry, then s/he could be liable for contempt.”

“The judgment has completely shaken the country. Rightly or wrongly, people are so agitated that it led to eight deaths. Those who have been oppressed for thousands of years have a feeling that dilution of the arrest provision in the SC/ST Act amounted to protecting the accused.” However, a bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and U U Lalit contested the suggestion that through their March 20 order, they had dismantled the law which was conceived as a deterrent against atrocities on SC/STs.

“We never suggested that the guilty should go scot-free. We have clarified that if there is any violent act by the accused, coupled with the offence under the SC/ST Act, the police can straightaway arrest without conducting a preliminary enquiry or taking sanction from a higher authority. We never suggested any particular line of action. What we said was protect the innocent from harassment through a frivolous complaint. Can the Supreme Court not protect the liberty and right to life of an innocent by safeguarding his/her arrest by laying down guidelines? We have not changed the provisions of the law at all,” the bench said.

“The judgment has completely shaken the country. Rightly or wrongly, people are so agitated that it led to eight deaths. Those who have been oppressed for thousands of years have a feeling that dilution of the arrest provision in the SC/ST Act amounted to protecting the accused.” However, a bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and U U Lalit contested the suggestion that through their March 20 order, they had dismantled the law which was conceived as a deterrent against atrocities on SC/STs.

“We never suggested that the guilty should go scot-free. We have clarified that if there is any violent act by the accused, coupled with the offence under the SC/ST Act, the police can straightaway arrest without conducting a preliminary enquiry or taking sanction from a higher authority. We never suggested any particular line of action. What we said was protect the innocent from harassment through a frivolous complaint. Can the Supreme Court not protect the liberty and right to life of an innocent by safeguarding his/her arrest by laying down guidelines? We have not changed the provisions of the law at all,” the bench said.

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New Delhi: Brushing aside the Centre’s charge that the verdict marked an interruption into the sphere of the legislature and rewriting of the law, the Supreme Court of India yesterday denied yet again to stay its March 20 verdict diluting…