“Why should PoA Bill be referred to Parliamentary panel?’’

July 21, 2014 12:00 am | Updated 05:41 am IST - Vellore:

Why the Bill to amend the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 (PoA Act) should be referred to the Parliamentary standing committee, when those amendments were sought after by experts, rights groups and human rights commission, asked Justice K. Chandru, retired judge of Madras High Court.

Delivering a speech at an event organised here on Saturday to introduce his recent book ‘Ambedkar Oliyil Enathu Theerppugal’ (My judgments in the light of Ambedkar), Mr. Chandru said that the previous UPA government promulgated an ordinance amending the PoA Act at the fag-end of its term. The ordinance encompassed amendments sought after by experts and rights groups for a long time and based on recommendations of human rights commission.

The Modi government that succeeded the UPA regime was expected to pass a bill to make those amendments (introduced to the Act by the ordinance) into a regular one by passing it in Parliament, as no party was opposed to them.

“But those who came to power promising a change referred the matter to a standing committee. It will delay the matter by several weeks/months. Why should they do so, when those amendments were sought after by rights groups and Human Rights Commission? It shows their discrimination. It points to the necessity to put more pressure on them,” Mr. Chandru said.

He also asked what would happen to the Ordinance as it was poised to lapse at the end of six months from the date of promulgation.

Mr. Chandru said a case was filed against the PoA Act in the Madras High Court though the court already rejected the argument that the Act contradicted with the Constitution.

“An idea is being constructed that the Act is being misused. In a recent incident a subordinate judge posted at Tindivanam asked his office assistant to remove the portrait of Ambedkar found behind his seat. These incidents show that it is time that requires Dalits to step up their ideological struggle,” Mr. Chandru added.

Tiruvalluvar University Employees Union president I. Elangovan gave the inaugural address.

Writers Azhagiya Periyavan, Poonguzhali, Editor of ‘Dalit Murasu’ magazine Punitha Pandiyan and Professor P. Santhi felicitated Justice Chandru’s efforts in compiling his judgments of social importance into a book.

Writer Yazhan Adhi has compeered the event. Activist Mugil Paramanandam sang songs of social awakening. Trade unionist R. Sampath Kumar thanked the participants.

“Those who came to power promising a change referred the matter to a standing committee. It will delay the matter by several weeks/months. Why should they do so?”

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