- Ban on automatic arrest in cases under SC/ST Act
- Supreme Court said struggle of SC/STs for equality, civil rights not over
- 2018 order was seen to dilute provisions of a law protecting SC/STs
The Supreme Court has recalled a 2018 order that was seen to dilute provisions of a law protecting Dalits. This means the ban on automatic arrest in cases under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989, and the need for sanction before arrests linked to violation of the law stand withdrawn.
A preliminary enquiry will no longer be required for the registering of an FIR.
The Supreme Court said the struggle of SC/STs for equality and civil rights was still not over. "They are still discriminated against. Untouchability has not vanished and those involved in scavenging have still not been provided modern facilities," the court noted.
The ruling comes as a huge relief to the government, which had requested the top court to withdraw its order.
In its decision in March last year, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court said due to the misuse of the SC/ST law against government servants, there would be no immediate arrests when complaints of harassment of Dalits were received and an FIR or First Information Report could be filed only after an initial probe by a panel of officers.
This led to huge protests by the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes community. The government then went to the top court against the judgment. The centre also amended the law to negate the March 2018 verdict and brought back the stringent conditions in the law.
"Misuse of the Act is not a ground to dilute the provisions of law," the court said today.
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