Congress against dilution of SC/ST Act, wants review petition

New Delhi, March 21: The Congress on Wednesday said it was against dilution of any provisions in the SC/ST Act and asked the Modi government to amend the law or file a review petition in view of the Supreme Court order that said the arrest of an accused under the Act is not mandatory.

A day after the court judgment that recourse to coercive action under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act would be only after preliminary inquiry and sanction by the competent authority, the Congress accused the government of not fighting the case properly.

Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Anand Sharma, Jyotiradtiya Scindia, Kumari Selja, Raj Babbar and Randeep Singh Surjewala held a joint press conference and accused the government of having an “anti-Dalit mindset” and being “silent” on the issue.

Surjewala said Congress President Rahul Gandhi has also expressed his concern over dilution of the provisions of the Act.

“The dilution of the Act is not acceptable to the Congress. The government should rectify its deliberate mistake. It should bring an amendment in Parliament or file a review petition. The conspiracy of the Modi government to dilute rights of Dalits is not acceptable to Congress,” he said.

The Congress leader alleged that there has been an increase in crimes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Bharatiya Janata Party government and schemes for the welfare of weaker sections had been curtailed.

“There has been 91 percent reduction in jobs secured by Dalits under the Modi government,” he said.

Kumari Selja accused the BJP-RSS of conspiracy to end reservation and said it was trying to “finish” the Act which was enacted during the Rajiv Gandhi government.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday also said that there was no “absolute bar against the grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act if no prima facie case is made out or where on judicial scrutiny the complaint is found to be prima facie mala fide”.


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