The Union Law Ministry has decided to file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s order last week protecting public servants from arrest under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, without a preliminary inquiry.
“I have already instructed the Ministry of Law over the desirability of filing a review and appropriate follow-up action,” Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Several ministers of the National Democratic Alliance had opposed the Supreme Court’s order and asked the government to file a review petition.
Dalit group Sanvidhaan Bachao Sangharsh Committee has called for a country-wide shutdown on April 2, The Times of India reported. The committee’s leaders said the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were creating an atmosphere against the backward classes, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. “The dilution of provisions of SC/ST Act has happened as the Union government did not properly argue the case and in fact wanted its dilution,” the group said.
The decision came a day after the Centre told the Supreme Court that it was against the idea of excluding the “creamy layer” of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the benefits of reservation. The “creamy layer” refers to the relatively wealthy and better educated members of Other Backward Classes, who are not eligible for reservations, and SC/ST communities.
While passing the order on the Atrocities Act on March 20, the Supreme Court had said the move was aimed at curbing the misuse of the law. Following the order, no public servant can be taken into custody until an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent conducts a preliminary inquiry.