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Constitutionality of SC/ST Amendment Act Upheld - SC

2020-02-10

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the SC/ST Amendment Act passed in 2019 (Prithviraj Chauhan vs UOI) which was brought to nullify the effect of the court's 2018 ruling, which had diluted the provisions of the stringent Act.

An amendment was brought in the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act [SC/ST Act] last year by the parliament to nullify the effect of the Supreme Court’s judgment of March 2018 (Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan vs. State of Maharashtra). Through this judgement the provisions of the stringent Act were effectively diluted.

In the March 20, 2018 verdict, the two-judge Supreme Court bench had held that there will be no automatic arrest on a complaint filed under the Act had also introduced anticipatory bail provision under the Act. The Centre had filed a review petition before the Supreme Court asking to review its order passed on March 20, 2018.

The said amendment was later assailed before the Supreme Court. The three-Judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran, and Ravindra Bhat had reserved its verdict in the matter on October 3 last year, while hinting that the amendment was likely to be upheld.

Main points of the contention pertained to –

  • Provision of anticipatory bail
  • Provision of preliminary enquiry for complaints under the SC/ST Act.Courts can, however, quash FIRs in exceptional circumstances.

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