Dilution of SC/ST Act: SC amends its 2018 verdict

The Supreme Court partially recalled its own order which forbade automatic arrest in cases under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989.

The court order came on a review petition moved by the Narendra Modi government against dilution of SC/ST Act in a judgment delivered by the court in March 2018.

The Supreme Court verdict passed on March 20 last year set in place guidelines to prevent misuse of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act and by which automatic arrest on complaint filed under the Act was stopped. The Supreme Court recalled directions which mandated prior sanction for arrest of public servants and private persons. It also did away with requirement of preliminary enquiry before registering FIR.

It said the struggle for equality and civil rights of SC/ST communities was still not over. They are still discriminated, the Supreme Court observed.

It said untouchability has not vanished and rued that those involved in scavenging had still not been provided modern facilities.

The Centre had moved the petition in the Supreme Court seeking review of its 2018 judgment forbidding an arrest without prior permission for offences under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, calling it "against the spirit of the Constitution".

The judgment had led to political uproar with many Dalit outfits targeting the Modi government alleging it did not defend the rights of the SC/ST communities in the Supreme Court.