Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Thursday said the recent protests against the Supreme Court’s order on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act brought to the fore the apprehensions Dalits have about the top court, PTI reported.

The Minister of State for Human Resources Development also lamented the near absence of judges from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward castes in the judiciary, and announced a campaign to advocate for an increase in representation of people from these communities and minorities in the Supreme Court and High Courts.

“The Supreme Court should come out with a white paper and tell us how many judges have come from poor families,” the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party leader said. “Not only do the people from Dalit, tribal and other backward classes have a negligible presence in the Supreme Court and High Courts, but even deserving candidates from common families of general castes find it difficult to reach a judge’s position.”

The judiciary might a be a strong pillar of democracy but “there is no democracy within it”, Kushwaha added.

The top court’s judgment on March 20 protects a public servant from being prosecuted
under the SC/ST Act without a preliminary inquiry. The court had said the move was aimed at curbing alleged misuse of the law.