SC rejects government plea to stay its verdict on SC/ST law

Team SoOLEGAL 4 May 2018 2:20pm

SC rejects government plea to stay its verdict on SC/ST law

New Delhi: Despite Attorney General K K Venugopal strong pleas to the court to stay its earlier March 20 verdict on SC/ST law, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Adarsh Goel and U U Lalit refused the Centre’s demand for a stay on its verdict on the SC/ST Act. It said it has not diluted the law and favoures “100 percent” the protection of the rights of these communities and punishing those guilty of atrocities against them. But it want’s to protect the rights of innocents who may be charged under the law.

The court rejected the centre's charge that its March 20 ruling led to loss of lives in the violence that broke out during the bandh called to protest to call the ruling.

There were heated exchanges between AG and the bench as AG charged court with crossing its boundaries and stepping into the realm of enacting of law, which is exclusively the domain of centre. Centre told the top court that its verdict, laying guidelines putting certain safeguards on the immediate arrest of a person for offences, countermanded the law enacted by the legislature and should thus be stayed and the case referred to a larger bench. The Attorney General said that the March 20 judgement is in direct contradiction of section 18 of SC/ST Act (anticipatory bail), section 4 of SC/ST Act (lodging of FIR) and section 41 of CrPC (power of arrest).“There is separation of powers which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution and the court can only lay down guidelines for disposal of a case but can not lay guidelines in general in the nature of law, for the whole country,” the Attorney General said.

The bench disagreed with the arguments put forth by the AG and said there were several SC verdicts by which rules were framed including bringing in the existence of Collegium system for appointment of judges. The court rejected the centre's charge of interfering in executive realm saying it has not added a word to the law. “It’s not that the judgement says there shall be no registration of crime. It’s not that accused shall not be arrested. The safeguards were for the purpose that a person should not be readily arrested or an innocent punished because there was no provision of anticipatory bail under the SC/ST Act,” the bench said.

The top court said under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, has provisions similar to laws like TADA and MCOCA, where the offences were supposed to be of greater magnitude and denial of bail in such cases was understood but denial of opportunity of bail under this law is not fair. However it said, if there is a grave offence, judgement will not stand in the way of registration of FIR and possible arrest of the person.

Tagged: Supreme Court   SC/ST Act   Centre   TADA   MCOCA  
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