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Posted by amritaias on May 29th, 2020

For the second time, the Supreme Court refused to stay amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for the accused.
A bench said it would hear a batch of petitions challenging the amendments to the Act along with the Centre’s review plea for final disposal. The petitions have sought the declaration of the new amendments to the SC/ST Act as ultra vires.

Guidelines issued by the Supreme Court on SC/ST Act in Kashinath Mahajan case:

The court referred to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2015, which said that closure reports had been filed in 15-16 percent of the complaints under the Act. Over 75% of such cases taken up by the courts had resulted in acquittals/ withdrawal or compounding of the cases.
  • Supreme Court gave the judgement on the pretext that Innocents cannot be terrorized by the provisions of the SC/ST Act and their fundamental rights need to be protected.
  • The court said that public servants could be arrested only with the written permission of their appointing authority, while in the case of private employees; the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned should allow it.
  • A preliminary inquiry should be conducted before the FIR was registered to check if the case fell within the ambit of the Act, and whether it was frivolous or motivated, the court ruled.
  • PoA act had to be interpreted in a manner which will ensure that “casteism is not perpetuated” through the implementation of the law.
Therefore, there was a need to safeguard innocent citizens against false implication and unnecessary arrest for which there is no sanction under the law.
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