Kerala seeks SC/ST review

-The Telegraph

New Delhi: Kerala has become the first state to petition the Supreme Court for a review of its judgment that has been accused of "diluting" the SC/ST Atrocities Act by ruling against automatic arrests and allowing anticipatory bail.

The Centre has already sought a review and recall of the March 20 judgment, which has triggered widespread protests and prompted a nationwide shutdown by Dalits on April 2 during which at least 11 people were killed.

At the last hearing after the Centre sought a review, the apex court had clarified that it would not allow any fresh intervention applications in the matter.

Kerala's Left Front government, however, moved its application on Friday, arguing the judgment had "wide ramifications as the same has created insecurity among SC/ST people".

It argued that Section 18 of the act, which bars the grant of anticipatory bail to accused, forms the backbone of the law as an inherent deterrent and instils a sense of protection among Dalits and tribal people.

"Any dilution thereof would shake the very objective of the mechanism to prevent offences of atrocities," the state said.

"The orders of this hon'ble court, while seeking to protect persons whose offences would not normally merit denial of anticipatory bail as in the instant case, would, by its uniform application, cause miscarriage of justice even in deserving cases."

For all the deterrent provisions in the act, the Kerala government argued, atrocities have continued against Dalits and tribal people.

It said that Parliament had enacted the law in 1989 after noting that "despite various measures to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, they remain vulnerable".

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The Telegraph, 15 April, 2018, https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/kerala-seeks-sc-st-review-223519?ref=india-new-stry

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