Supreme Court: A bench headed by Justice Dr, AK Sikri refused to stay the proposed amendments to the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which restored the no anticipatory bail provision for the accused.

It said that the pending review petition filed by the Centre against the apex court’s March 20, 2018 verdict and the pleas challenging the new amendments made in the SC & ST verdict will be taken up together and referred the matter to the Chief Justice for reconstitution of a bench which Justice UU Lalit was a part of.

On March 20, 2018, the bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit, JJ acknowledged the abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (the Atrocities Act) and said:

“the legislature never intended to use the Atrocities Act as an instrument to blackmail or to wreak personal vengeance nor was it intended to deter public servants from performing their bona fide duties.”

The bench had held that an accused is certainly entitled to show to the Court, if he apprehends arrest, that case of the complainant was motivated. If it can be so shown there is no reason that the Court is not able to protect liberty of such a person. There cannot be any mandate under the law for arrest of an innocent. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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