Thursday, April 15, 2021
Home Law Supreme Court verdict on SC/ST act and the battle of perception for BJP

Supreme Court verdict on SC/ST act and the battle of perception for BJP

The recent Supreme Court verdict in the case Dr Subhash Kashinath Mahajan versus the State of Maharashtra & others has kicked up a political storm. The court ruled that additional safeguards must be provided to civil servants before arresting them in a complaint registered under Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities), 1989. It said that the approval of an appointing authority, a non- public servant and an S.S.P is required for arresting a public servant under the act. This safeguard has been added to avoid misuse of the act against public servants.

Anticipatory bail was denied for accused under the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) act. The verdict has also made way for an anticipatory bail to accused if there is no prima facie case. Anticipatory bail is a provision in the law that allows a person to seek a bail if he/she anticipates an arrest on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence. In its judgement [pdf] the apex court said :

83. Our conclusions are as follows:
i) Proceedings in the present case are a clear abuse of process of the court and are quashed.

ii) There is no absolute bar against the grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act if no prima facie case is made out or where on judicial scrutiny the complaint is found to be prima facie mala fide. We approve the view taken and approach of the Gujarat High Court in Pankaj D Suthar (supra) and Dr N.T. Desai (supra) and clarify the judgments of this Court in Balothia (supra) and Manju Devi (supra);

iii) In view of acknowledged abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Atrocities Act, the arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the S.S.P. which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded. Such reasons must be scrutinized by the Magistrate for permitting further detention.

iv) To avoid false implication of an innocent, a preliminary enquiry may be conducted by the DSP concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the Atrocities Act and that the allegations are not frivolous or motivated.

v) Any violation of direction (iii) and (iv) will be actionable by way of disciplinary action as well as contempt.

This has raised concerns among the SC/ST community as the rate of conviction are already low under the act. They have also felt that the judgement would dilute the provisions of the act which protect the community from atrocities. This argument might have some validity. The need of the hours is to find a balance between protection of the SC/ST community from atrocities and prevent its misuse. Instead of working on a solution, the Congress party has decided to politicise the matter.

This is a purely logical debate which must be examined from the legal point of view. A group of BJP MPs belonging to SC/ST community have met the law minister and asked him to file a review petition on the matter. This issue could turn into a test of perception for BJP as well. The SC and ST community has supported the party in several elections and its support is crucial for any party to succeed in the key state of Uttar Pradesh. Any indication that the party is against their interests will turn the tide against the party.

Thus, it would seem like a catch-22 situation for BJP. While the Court has issued its judgement based on misuse of the law, BJP would also need to balance the perception battle with the logical steps that need to be taken to not only protect the interests of the SC/ST community but also curb misuse of the law.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Hindu leader in Panipat explains why he thought it is necessary to come out in streets in support of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati

A Muslim mob came face to face with Hindu organisations who carried out a sit-in vigil in support of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati

Amdavad Municipal Corporation introduces ‘drive through’ RTPCR testing as COVID-19 cases surge in the state

First ever drive-through RTPCR testing centre opened in Ahmedabad, Gujarat as the state battles Chinese coronavirus

UP govt ramps up measures to fight the resurgent COVID-19 outbreak, airlifts 25,000 doses of Remdesivir using govt plane from Gujarat

The Uttar Pradesh government is working on a war-footing to blunt the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak

One more video of a mob calling for beheading Yati Narsimhanand Saraswati for ‘insulting Prophet Muhammad’ goes viral

Muslims across the country are demanding the beheading of Yati Narsimhanand Saraswati after his comments criticising Islam

Tours and travels operators in Mumbai issuing fake COVID-19 negative reports for Rs 300: Report reveals

As people in Mumbai rush to get out of Maharashtra amidst worsening coronavirus outbreak, travel agents are arranging bogus COVID-negative reports for Rs 300 to Rs 500 to enable their exit.

Maha COVID-19 crisis: Hospital beds and ventilators running short, scarcity in oxygen and Remdesivir supply, and inordinate delays in testing

Maharashtra is in a midst of a resurgent coronavirus outbreak as the state has reported over 60,212 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday

Recently Popular

Pfizer wanted Brazil, Argentina to put military bases, Federal reserve as collateral: Why India kept Pfizer away and how the usual suspects are wrong

Pfizer has been accused of countries in Latin America of pledging their sovereign assets, military bases and financial reserves to protect itself from any adverse fallout of the vaccine

OpIndia Exclusive: Tata Communications suffers data leak, hackers claim to have sold access to company’s servers, over 50GB data still up for sale

As per two posts by hackers on a hackers' forum, they have gained access to Tata Communications servers and sold them.

What happened in Chhabra after Hindu man was stabbed by Muslim men: Call for peace, attack on a Hindu the next day and more

On April 12, the administration extended curfew for one more day at Chhabra, Baran district in Rajasthan after the communal riot

Attempts to draw false equivalence between the Kumbh Mela and Tablighi Jamaat congregation do not make sense: Here’s why

Attempts are being made to draw false equivalences between the Kumbh Mela and the Tablighi Jamaat congregation last year.

It’s a lung… it’s a burnt toast… it’s a duck pic… No! It’s a painting by Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee did not appear in any election rallies or gave any statement regarding the ongoing Assembly elections in West Bengal after Election Commission banned her from campaigning for 24 hours

Mayor Sadiq Khan vows to bring the Indian Premier League to London to boost his reelection chances: Details

London mayor Sadiq Khan promises to bring the Indian Premier League to the British capital as part of his reelection campaign.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

254,077FansLike
529,115FollowersFollow
24,200SubscribersSubscribe