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

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutional validity of the SC/ST Amendment Act, 2018. The legislation rules out any provisions for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs.

A Bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Ravindra Bhat pronounced the verdict after hearing a batch of pleas challenging the top court’s March 2018 order.

In August 2018, the Centre had brought in an amendment to the act to nullify the effects of the court’s March 20, 2018 judgment that had diluted the provisions of the act and directed that no arrests could be made without prior permission. The dilution had sparked protests by Dalits across the country.

In October 2019, the SC bench had given a hint that it will uphold the amendments made by the Centre in SC/ST Act to restore immediate arrest and do away with anticipatory bail.

A bench also said that a preliminary inquiry is not essential before lodging an FIR under the act and the approval of senior police officials is not needed.

Justice Ravindra Bhat, the other member of the bench, said in a concurring verdict that every citizen needs to treat fellow citizens equally and foster the concept of fraternity.

Justice Bhat said a court can quash the FIR if a prima facie case is not made out under the SC/ST Act and the liberal use of anticipatory bail will defeat the intention of Parliament.

The top court’s verdict came on a batch of PILs challenging the validity of the SC/ST Amendment Act of 2018, which was brought to nullify the effect of the apex court’s 2018 ruling, which had diluted the provisions of the stringent Act.

(With PTI inputs)

Courtesy : DNA

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