Ram Vilas Paswan says Modi Govt to file review petition against SC-ST Act dilution

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said, after protests by Opposition and BJP MPs, that Modi Govt will file a review petition on a Supreme Court order diluting stringent provisions of SC/ST (PoA) Act

Photo by Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images
Photo by Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images

NH Political Bureau

After a delegation of Dalit NDA ministers and MPs led by Ram Vilas Paswan and including Ramdas Athawale, Jual Oram, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Ajay Tamta, Vijay Sampla and Anandrao Adsul met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss issues related to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), Paswan said the government will file a review petition against a Supreme Court order that dilutes some stringent provisions of the SC/ST anti-atrocities act. The Supreme Court order had made prior sanction mandatory in cases of arrest under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes & Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and allowed anticipatory bail to be granted in such offences.

Leaders of several Opposition parties had on Wednesday asked President Ram Nath Kovind to intervene in face of a possible “national disaster”. They said perpetrators of discrimination and violence were emboldened and insecurity was rising among Dalits after the recent Supreme Court judgment.

Dalit BJP MPs Udit Raj and Savitri Bai Phule had expressed their dismay at the dilution and demanded the Modi Govt file review petitions, in separate interviews with National Herald.

Addressing a press conference, Paswan said the meeting with PM Modi was "positive" as the Dalit ministers and MPs apprised him of certain issues related to SCs and STs such as reservation in private sector and promotion in the public sector. He said the government was "committed" to file a review petition against the dilution of some provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

"It was a positive discussion with Modi ji. He listened to our issues and concerns. We also made demands for reservation for SCs and STs for jobs in the private sector and promotions in the public sector," Paswan said. The Constitution envisages continuation of reservation for SCs and STs, Paswan added.

Paswan and Athawale took a dig at the Congress for accusing the BJP-government of not doing enough to protect interests of SCs and STs saying "If it is concerned about it so much, why did not it file a review petition?". Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party and Athawale's Republican Party of India (RPI-A) have already filed separate review petitions against the Supreme Court's order. Athawale said there could be "very few fake cases" but the almost all cases under the atrocities act were genuine.

With IANS inputs.

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Published: 29 Mar 2018, 10:14 AM