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SC/ST Act verdict: Kerala files review petition

Activists of Dalit organisations take out a march in Thiruvananthapuram as part of a Statewide hartal on April 9, 2018.   | Photo Credit: S. Gopakumar

 

Kerala on April 14 became the first State to file a separate review petition against the March 20 verdict of the Supreme Court banning immediate arrest of persons accused of committing atrocities against Dalits.

The LDF government urged the apex court to recall the judgement, and said it has become a source of insecurity among the SC/ST community.

The 19-page review petition echoes the arguments of the Centre’s review petition. Written submissions filed recently by the Centre to augment its plea for review of the judgement said the verdict is causing disharmony and “great damage” to the country.

Kerala said the judgement was contradicting the Supreme Court’s own past decisions that the provisions of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 deserves “strict implementation”. Kerala agrees with the Centre that contrary to the Supreme Court’s assertion of any misuse of the 1989 Act, facts and data have demonstrated a weak implementation of the law meant to protect Dalits. When the law is clear that anticipatory bail is barred to accused, the Supreme Court cannot lay down guidelines allowing accused anticipatory bail.

 

“Looking at the historical background relating to the practice of untouchability and the social attitude which lead to the commission of such offences against SCs/STs, there is justification for an apprehension that if benefit of anticipatory bail is made available to persons who are alleged to have committed such offences, there is every likelihood of their misusing their liberty while on anticipatory bail to terrorise their victims and to prevent a proper investigation,” Kerala argued in identical lines as that of the Centre.

Kerala said heinous offences are committed against members of the SC/ST community to humiliate and subjugate them and to keep them in a state of servitude.It said refusal of anticipatory bail to persons who commit atrocities against the dignity and life of members of the SC/ST community is not a violation of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court cannot dilute the provisions of an Act passed by the Parliament to protect the weak, Kerala argued.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 10:23:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/scst-act-verdict-kerala-files-separate-review-petition-in-supreme-court/article23541455.ece

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