Alleging a rise in atrocities against Dalits under the BJP-led government, the Congress expressed serious concern over the Supreme Court judgement that diluted provisions related to immediate arrest in the SC/ST Act and demanded a review of the same or an amendment in the law.
“The SC/ST Act is the most important instrument to prevent atrocities on Dalits and adivasis. A complicit Modi governmnet failed to defend it in the Supreme Court.
“The PM must not abdicate his duty in favour of the anti-Dalit mindset of the BJP/RSS,” Mr Gandhi said on Twitter.
Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma asked the government to clarify its stand on the issue, claiming there was a “sense of insecurity” among Dalits and other oppressed classes after the apex court verdict.
“There is serious concern over yesterday’s decision of the Supreme Court. If it is not reviewed, it will be very unfortunate. There is a feeling on insecurity among the SC/STs and other oppressed classes. We feel there should be a review of this decision which will be in national interest.
“Why is the government silent on this issue. Government should clarify its stand and should present its version before the Supreme Court through the Attorney General. If the government remains silent, it means that the government supports the decision,” he told reporters.
Party MP Kumari Selja alleged that the development is a result of the BJP-RSS policy, as they are “conspiring to end reservation”.
The Chief Whip of Congress in Lok Sabha, Jyotiraditya Scindia, said the BJP and RSS want to end reservation and neither the prime minister nor any minister in the government has so far given any clarification the issue.
Congress Communications incharge Randeep Sujewala said the centre and the Maharashtra Government, which were a party on the issue in the case, did not present their case properly and that came from the ‘anti-Dalit’ mindset of BJP and RSS.
He alleged that this dilution in the Act was not acceptable to the Congress, as this has been done under a ‘conspiracy’ by the BJP.
He said either this verdict should be reviewed or a fresh amendment be made in the Act and if not done the Dalits who are already oppressed will rise against it and will shake the Modi Government.
The Supreme Court yesterday diluted its stringent provisions mandating immediate arrest under the law in a bid to protect honest public servants discharging bonafide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the SC/ST Act.
The top court said that on “several occasions”, innocent citizens were termed as accused and public servants deterred from performing their duties, which was never the intention of the legislature while enacting the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
It said that “in view of the acknowledged abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Atrocities Act, arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded.”
It also said that the reasons recorded must be scrutinised by the magistrate for permitting further detention.