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SC/ST Act: Cabinet approves proposal to restore its basic provisions

Govt will introduce a Bill to restore the status of  SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to the provisions it had before the Supreme Court order of March this year. The decision will give a give a great deal of confidence to the dlait community that had threatened a Bharat Bandh later this month.

In a major decision the Union Cabinet approved a proposal to restore the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 to its status prior to the Apex Court order of March 20, 2018.

This will also restore confidence among Dalits who had been agitating since April demanding amendments in the law. Government will bring a bill to this effect in the current monsoon session of Parliament.

Government made its commitment clear to protecting the interests of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

The cabinet has approved the following amendments:

– No preliminary inquiry will be required before registering FIR in the case of SC and ST

– No prior permission will be required to arrest the accused
 

– Section 438 of CRPC will not apply to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Law.
 

On march 20 this year, the Supreme Court had passed an important decision pertaining to the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989.

The apex court had banned immediate arrest of a person accused of insulting or injuring a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe member.

The court also allowed the accused persons to apply for anticipatory bail. The 1989 law, in fact, prohibits anticipatory bail, saying the accused on bail could terrorise the victims.

The apex court order led to widespread agitation, after which government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court. Govt’s petition urged the court to restore the provisions of the Scheduled Castes Scheduled Tribes Preventions of Atrocities Act to make the crimes non-bailable.

The review petition is pending before the court. The Bill that the Govt will introduce does restore those provisions. Union minister and Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the intervention.  Paswan said that government has taken several decisions in the interest of Dalits.

Government obtained apex court approval for continuing reservations in promotions in government jobs. These promotions had been stopped by certain High Court Judgements.

The center approached the Supreme Court  which ruled that pending the final verdict, the govt can continue with providing reservations in promotions.

Since taking office in May 2014 the Modi Govt has taken all several welfare measures for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes keeping with its motto of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.

Among them are Mudra loans, National SC / ST hubs, Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes and Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana for Tribals.

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