Several Dalit organisations have called for ‘Bharat Bandh’ today against the alleged dilution of the SCs/STs Act. Following the Supreme Court order, in which Apex Court had banned automatic arrests in the said Act, the protests today have hit life in several states.
The NDA government today filed a petition seeking review of the Supreme Court order diluting the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which protects marginalised communities against discrimination and atrocities.
On March 20, the Supreme Court banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the SC/ST Act, triggering widespread criticism and outcry from the Dalit community. The apex court said public servants can’t be prosecuted without the approval of the appointing authority, and private citizens too should be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.
The 1989 Act, which was amended in 2015, punished casteist slurs and denied anticipatory bail to the accused. Making the 1989 Act more stringent, the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 added that actions like tonsuring of the head, moustache, or similar acts which are derogatory to the dignity of members of SCs and STs, will now also be treated as atrocities.