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SC/ST Act: Your judgement caused disharmony, great damage to the country, Centre tells Supreme Court

A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: THE HINDU

The Supreme Court judgement banning immediate arrest of a person accused of insulting or injuring Dalits is causing disharmony and “great damage” to the country, the Centre said on April 12.

“This case dealing with an issue of very sensitive nature has caused a lot of commotion in the country and is also creating anger unease and a sense of disharmony... the confusion created by this judgement may have to be corrected by reviewing the judgement and recalling the directions issued by the court,” the Centre submitted in a written note.

The government said the “confusion deserves to be corrected” and the March 20 judgement is “directly in conflict” with the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.

The judgement had led to mass protests and violence on April 2 which claimed several lives across the country. The Centre has filed a petition to review the judgement.

The government dismissed the reasoning given by the Supreme Court that it has the power to declare the law when none exists.

 

The Centre said that the Supreme Court is bound to uphold the written Constitution, which divides power among the government, the legislature and the judiciary. Each of the three arms of governance has to remain within its own terrain. The judgement is nothing but judicial legislation. It said the Supreme Court, through its March 20 verdict, has encroached upon area reserved for the Parliament and laid down a law contrary to a statute passed by Parliament. “The entire judgement is vitiated,” the government contended.

It said the court’s guidelines like banning immediate arrest and ordering preliminary enquiry amounted to an amendment of the Atrocities Act and not just filling up of gaps.

On April 3, a Bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit refused to suspend their judgement, observing that the March 20 verdict was meant to protect innocents from arbitrary arrest and not an affront to Dalit rights.

“An innocent should not be punished. There should not be terror in the society... We do not want any member of the SC/ST to be deprived of his rights. We only want an innocent not to be punished,” Justice Goel observed.

Justice Goel, who authored the verdict, said the judgement, in fact, fortified the Dalit protection law.

At one point, the Bench even confronted the government for shifting its stand in court by first agreeing there is abuse of the Atrocities Act and now filing a review petition against the March 20 judgement.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2020 3:54:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/scst-act-your-judgement-caused-disharmony-great-damage-to-the-country-centre-tells-supreme-court/article23515231.ece

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