Lok Sabha takes up bill to restore SC/ST Act provisions

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Monday took up for discussion the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, which seeks to overturn a Supreme Court order that struck down the provision for immediate arrest. The amendment bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot last week.

“Following the court decision, many SC/ST organisations called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’, leading to unfortunate incidents. The court decision says that to arrest an accused, the approval of the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned will be required. But this is not possible because in most parts of the country there are no SSPs,” Gehlot said while speaking on the bill in the Lok Sabha.

Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that it took 3-4 months for the Modi government to bring the bill in the house and also questioned why it didn’t bring an ordinance on the matter for so long. The Act prohibits the commission of offences against members of the weaker sections and establishes special courts for trial of such offences and rehabilitation of victims. The bill states that the Investigating Officer will not require approval of any authority for the arrest of the accused. Further, it provides that a preliminary enquiry will not be required for the registration of a First Information Report against those accused under the Act. (IANS)