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Rediff.com  » News » 3 states to challenge SC ruling on SC/ST Act

3 states to challenge SC ruling on SC/ST Act

April 17, 2018 18:48 IST

Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had reportedly taken steps to implement the order, they have now decided to put its execution in abeyance.

IMAGE: Dalit protesters stage a rail roko during Bharat bandh in Patna on April 2. Photograph: PTI Photo

Following a nudge from the top party brass, three Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states have decided to keep in abeyance implementation of the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act and will file review pleas against the directive, a top leader said on Tuesday.

The court recently laid down guidelines to prevent the alleged misuse of the Scheduled Castes and the Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

While Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had reportedly taken steps to implement the order, they have now decided to put its execution in abeyance and approach the apex court for a review.

"We have spoken to these chief ministers and their governments will soon file a review petition in the court. It is natural that the implementation of the order will be put in abeyance till the judiciary takes a final call," the party leader said on the condition of anonymity.

 

In Raipur, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said on Tuesday that his government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging the order.

Singh said his government had also revoked a police department circular for implementation of the Supreme Court order across the state.

"On March 20, Supreme Court had delivered a judgment on the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The state government will file a petition in the Supreme Court against the decision," Singh told reporters.

"In this connection, the state's police headquarters had issued an order. That order stands cancelled with immediate effect," he said.

"The state government is affected by the judgment. In Chhattisgarh, it is the responsibility of the government to protect the honour of SCs and STs. The state government has always been sensitive towards them," he said.

"The state government is completely capable of protecting the interests of SCs and STs. Therefore, we took this decision immediately," he added.

Singh said his government would present its side strongly in the apex court. On being asked about the lack of coordination between the state and the Centre, he said that his government got to know about the Centre's decision to file a review petition against the order yesterday.

"When we came to know about the stand of the Centre, we took a decision on the matter yesterday," he said.

Dalit groups had vehemently protested against the SC verdict, saying it dilutes the law and will lead to a rise in cases of atrocities against the scheduled castes and tribes.

The Centre has already filed a plea seeking review of the Supreme Court directive in the wake of large-scale protests by Dalit organisations.

In its order on March 20, the apex court had said the law's misuse had led innocent citizens being framed as accused and public servants deterred from performing their duties, which was never the intention when the SC/ST Act was originally enacted.

Opposition parties have used the issue to attack the ruling BJP, which has been assiduously wooing wooed Dalits under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its president Amit Shah.

Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan governments had recently issued formal orders, instructing their police chiefs to implement the March 20 Supreme Court order.

After the judgment, various Dalit MPs from the BJP-led ruling National Democratic Alliance, including Ram Vilas Paswan and Ramdas Athawale, had met Modi to expresses their concerns and demanded that the Centre should challenge the order.

Modi has also asserted that his government will not allow any dilution of the law to prevent atrocities against SCs and STs.

Representing the government's view, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said the government ‘differs’ with the reasoning given by the Supreme Court judgement for ‘virtually redoing the entire architecture’ of the Act.

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