February 10, 2020
Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutional validity of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018 enacted to nullify the effects of the March 20, 2018 judgment of the court which had diluted the provisions of the Act.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said a preliminary inquiry is not essential before lodging an FIR under the act and the approval of senior police officials is not needed.
The Act also does not provide for anticipatory bail to the accused being charged with SC/ST Act. Courts can, however, quash FIRs in exceptional circumstances.
Justice S Ravindra Bhat has penned down a separate order concurring with Justice Arun Mishra and added a caveat that pre-arrest bail should be granted only in extraordinary situations where a denial of bail would mean miscarriage of justice.
In its September 30 verdict, the Supreme Court’s three-judge bench had recalled its March 20, 2018 order that had diluted the stringent provisions of the SC/ST Act while restoring automatic arrest in such cases.
It had also recalled order on the preliminary probe by the police before the arrest.
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 Supreme Court’s verdict on Monday came on a batch of PILs challenging the validity of the SC/ST Amendment Act of 2018, which was brought to nullify the effect of the court’s 2018 ruling, which had diluted the provisions of the stringent Act.