Three Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states have decided to contest the Supreme Court judgment on the Dalit protection law, just hours after a news report said they had passed orders to implement the verdict, PTI reported. They will now put the implementation of the judgment in abeyance after a nudge from the BJP leadership, an unidentified party leader said.
Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had earlier asked police to strictly implement the judgment modifying the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. This had come even while the Centre has filed a plea to contest the verdict.
The three states, too, will now file review petitions in the court, PTI reported. Later in the day, Tamil Nadu also decided to file a review petition against the order. Kerala has already filed such a plea.
“We have spoken to these chief ministers and their governments will soon file a review petition in the court,” the leader told PTI. “It is natural that the implementation of the order will be put in abeyance till the judiciary takes a final call.”
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh confirmed that the order to the police department had been revoked. He said the state government will file a petition in the court against its verdict. “The state government is affected by the judgement,” he said. “In Chhattisgarh, it is the responsibility of the government to protect the honour of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The state government has always been sensitive towards them.”
The Supreme Court said on March 20 that its order was aimed at curbing the alleged misuse of the Act. According to its order, no public servant accused under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act can be taken into custody until an officer, not below the rank of deputy superintendent, conducts a preliminary inquiry.
Himachal Pradesh has reportedly circulated the orders among police officers informally, and Haryana has sought legal advice.
In the Congress-ruled Punjab, the state welfare department has put the file before Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who is yet to examine it, the daily said, quoting sources. In Karnataka, which also has a Congress government, the order has been circulated informally.
Earlier, Congress leader PL Punia had attacked the BJP government in Chhattisgarh for implementing the Supreme Court order, The Hindu reported. “The BJP government in Chhattisgarh has gone ahead and started the implementation of the diluted version of the Act, and also promised disciplinary action against those who do not implement this version of the Act,” he claimed. “This is a clear case of the BJP’s double-speak, duplicity and deceit.”