The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to stay the implementation of the amendment of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and said it will hear a batch of petitions related to it on February 19, ANI reported.
Last week, the court said it would consider setting up a bench to hear together the Centre’s review petition and other pleas challenging the amendments to the legislation. The Supreme Court had also refused to stay the amendments made by Parliament last year, which ruled out anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against the communities.
In its verdict on March 20, 2018, the court had diluted the law’s provisions and had said public servants cannot be arrested immediately after a complaint is filed against them under the law. The Centre had moved court to review this order.
The petitions claim that the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had arbitrarily decided to amend the law and restored the earlier provisions in a manner wherein an innocent person cannot avail the right to anticipatory bail. One of the petitions claimed that the structure of the act violates “basic principles of liberty and accountability” after the amendments.
At least 11 people died and hundreds were detained during the protests against the Supreme Court order in April last year. The Parliament passed an amendment bill in August to reverse the court’s order. The amendments said no preliminary inquiry will be needed to register a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.
In September, the Supreme Court agreed to examine petitions challenging the amendment but had declined to stay the legislation without hearing the government’s view.