SC/ST row: Case registered against BJP worker for firing during protest

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"There should not be any terror of the innocent". If he is innocent don't arrest him. "Why does government want people to be arrested without verification", the bench observed.

He said Modi-Government had amended the SC/ST Act and added new offences in it and provided for witness protection provisions and increased the relief amount to the victim.

Dalit organisations say the Supreme Court ruling was shocking even as the conviction rate for such crimes has declined over the years.

Dalit groups have accused the government of failing to present their case properly in court and demanded that it filed a review petition.

It said the mandate of the court was to protect the constitutional and fundamental rights of citizens which have "to be kept on the highest pedestal".

The bench, which agreed to hear the Centre's review petition in open court, said that its verdict can only be reviewed if there is a "patent error" in law. They had delivered the March 20 judgment.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay its order on SC/ST Act and asked all parties to submit detailed replies within 2 days. Justice Goel commented that the same may be completed even in an hour or 15 minutes.

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The CPI (M)-led LDF government in Kerala has expressed reservation over the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and said it has sought legal opinion on the matter. Chief Justice Misra had said there was no urgency to list the case, and that it would be taken up in time. "Some independent inquiry must be there". "It is also contrary to the legislative policy of Parliament as reflected in the Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989". What if it's against the attorney general?

A number of experts have said that the March 20 judgement does not dilute the act but simply upholds the constitutional safeguards available to those who are falsely accused of an offence. In this case one allegation and a man may be put behind bars.

The reported "dilution" of the law was done to curb "abuse of law". "No complainant can be prosecutor and judge", the SC said. We are conscious of that right. The judgment only prevents the innocent from being arrested. The legislature never meant to use the Atrocities Act as an instrument to blackmail or to wreck personal vengeance.

What was the SC's order?

Justice Karnan was sentenced to six months' imprisonment by the apex court previous year for accusing judges of Madras High Court and the Supreme Court of corruption. We are not diluting the Act in any way. People agitating may not have read the judgement. "There may also be some kind of vested interests involved". The Attorney General, K.K.Venugopal appeared for the Union Government.

Seeking the judgment's recall, the government said it "entails wide ramifications and implications resulting in dilution of the stringent provisions" of the 1989 law.

"We will consider your case". The matter will be heard after 10 days.

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