Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989
- GS Mains Paper-2, Government Policies
Why in news?
- Centre has decided to restore the original provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
- This comes as a response to an earlier verdict of Supreme Court on the Act.
What was the Supreme Court’s verdict?
- The Supreme Court had struck down some original provisions of the Act.
- It issued some guidelines to protect people against arbitrary arrests under the Act.
- It directed that public servants could be arrested only with the written permission of their appointing authority.
- In the case of private employees, the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned should allow it.
- A preliminary inquiry should be conducted before the First Information Report (FIR) was registered.
- This was to check if the case fell within the ambit of the Act, and whether it was frivolous or motivated.
How did the dalit community respond?
- The verdict faced sharp criticism from dalit leaders across the country and political parties.
- Dalit groups claimed that the court’s order diluted the true spirit of the law.
- Despite widespread opposition, the court refused to stay its ruling.
- So dalit groups demanded an ordinance or an Amendment Bill to restore the provisions.
- Following widespread protest, the Union Cabinet had given its nod to the Amendment Bill.
What does the Amendment Bill seek?
- The Amendment Bill seeks to insert three new clauses after Section 18 of the original Act.
- preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of an FIR against any person
- arrest of a person accused of having committed an offence under the Act would not require any approval
- provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure on anticipatory bail shall not apply to a case under this Act, “notwithstanding any judgment or order of any Court”
- The Centre’s decision to amend the provisions of the Act appears both reasonable and unavoidable at this juncture.