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Government exploring all options including ordinance to restore SC/ST Act in original form: Ramvilas Paswan

Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Central government is exploring all options, including bringing an ordinance, in case the Supreme Court’s ruling on the review petition filed by it against its ruling on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act is not favourable.

“The government is committed to protecting the rights of Dalits. And whatever needs to be done, to restore the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to its original form, will be done, including bringing an ordinance,” Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan said on Friday.

A meeting of the group of ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh was held on Wednesday to discuss the fallout of the agitations by various Dalit organisations on the Supreme Court ruling which effectively diluted the Act.

The apex court had directed that a preliminary inquiry must be conducted by the police within seven days of an alleged incident before taking any action. On April 2, the government filed a review petition against the Supreme Court ruling.

Mr. Paswan said the question of issuing an ordinance will come up only if the apex court ruled against the government’s review petition. “The Supreme Court judgment was against the basic tenet of the law. This law was notified under section 15 (4) of the Constitution and therefore it can’t be compared with the usual laws under the Code of Criminal Procedure,” Mr. Paswan added.

 

Sharp questions

During the GoM meeting, BJP Ministers and allies both posed sharp questions to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. They questioned him on the arguments presented by the Additional Solicitor General.

The Law Secretary, according to sources, said the government was not kept in the loop. The Ministers also said the 11-day delay in filing the review petition would also hurt the government.

“I hope that whenever the Supreme Court rules on the review petition it keeps in mind that caste-based discrimination is a social reality which is happening today too,” Mr. Paswan added.

In a meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Panel on the Welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes many Opposition members attacked the government on the Supreme Court ruling and its alleged lackadaisical approach in handling the agitations.

All the Opposition members insisted that the government should bring in an ordinance to restore the Act to its original form. The BJP members present did not object to the suggestion.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 8:11:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-exploring-all-options-including-ordinance-to-restore-scst-act-in-original-form-ramvilas-paswan/article23530135.ece

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