Plea in SC challenges restoration of immediate arrest under SC/ST law

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New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court was moved on Tuesday challenging the amendment to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act restoring the provision mandating immediate arrest in the event of a complaint under the statute.

The petitioner lawyers Prathvi Raj Chauhan and Priya Sharma have challenged the amendment to the Act in its just concluded monsoon session by which top court judgment diluting the provision was reversed.

Comparing the recent amendment with the one brought by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi government to overturn the top court verdict in Shah Bano case, the petitioner lawyers have described the amendment as “arbitrary” as it reversed the top court decision to protect the innocent people from the abuse of the stringent provisions of the Act.

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In the Shah Bano case, the top court had awarded her maintenance to the divorcee Muslim woman, but then Rajiv Gandhi government brought an amendment to overturn the judgment holding that it was an infringement of the Muslim Personal Law.

The petitioner lawyers have contended that the government brought the amendment under pressure from alliance partners and for political mileage and its worry over antagonising huge vote-bank ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

It says the government plea seeking the recall of this order is still pending before the top court.

In its plea seeking the recall of the judgment diluting stringent provisions, the Centre had told the top court that its judgment had “seriously affected their (SC/ST) morale in the ability of State to protect them.”

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The top court had held on March 20 that the police will hold an inquiry to ascertain the veracity of a complaint filed under the Act before acting on it.

The court had said that it was providing for the safeguard “in view of acknowledged abuse of law of arrest” under the Act.

–IANS

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