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Innocents must be protected: says supreme court sticking to its judgement over the SC/ST act

The Supreme Court made it clear on Tuesday that it will make no suspension on the operation of the verdict given on the SC/ST Act. The judgement passed on the act created widespread tension among the Dalit groups fearing it would make their people vulnerable. The court, however, clarified saying it had not caused any dilution of even a single provision of the legislation and the verdict in no way conflicts the Act.

A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit in support of the court’s judgement stated that even if protecting the rights of SC and ST deserve prior attention, an innocent person cannot be deprived of its liberty. The person on being proved guilty should be arrested but the genuineness of the case needs to be confirmed first. The bench stated that people got misled as the ruling does not aim at encroaching the rights of Dalits in any form.

The court made it very clear that its ruling applied to those cases only that are registered under the SC/ST Act and if  any offence get committed under the Act also featured transgressions under the Indian Penal Code, such as tonsuring, physical violence or arson, disrobing etc then no restriction on immediate registration of an FIR was there

On 20th March, the apex court banned registration of criminal cases and automatic arrest under SC/ST Act that triggered the outcry and violent protests from the Dalits groups. The Act was enacted by the Indian Parliament for prevention of atrocities against SC/ST. To ensure no misuse of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act 1989 ever happens, the Supreme Court stated that an enquiry of the case under the SC/ST Act and confirmation on it would be done by an appointed authority to check if the allegations are false and no innocent gets legally harassed.

The protests done by Dalits got violent in 5 states and Delhi too faced the heat. To get the situation in control, the centre pleaded to seek a stay on the court’s order. The bench asked the centre and the Maharashtra government and others to file written submissions explaining why the verdict needed reconsideration.

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