Patna, Mar 28 (PTI) Bihar MLAs belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes today protested against the recent Supreme Court order diluting provisions of the SC/ST Act, forcing adjournment of the House till lunch break.

Legislators of RJD, JD(U) and RLSP, a constituent of the NDA, belonging to the SC/ST communities united to protest in the House.

When Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary turned down an adjournment motion moved by RJD MLA Shiv Chandra Ram on the issue during Zero Hour, legislators belonging to the communities, including those in the treasury benches, began protesting vociferously.

Ram said the court verdict was tantamount to the weaker sections being deprived of an opportunity to get justice and that the intentions of the Centre were suspect as no attempts were being made to file a review petition challenging the order.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shravan Kumar tried to intervene, saying the issue fall outside the ambit of the assembly and it would not be proper to hold a debate on it on the floor of the House.

As the commotion continued for some time, the Speaker adjourned the House till 2 pm.

Later, the SC/ST MLAs sat on a dharna in the lawn on the assembly premises demanding that the Centre file a review petition against the Supreme Court order at the earliest.

The agitating MLAs included minister Maheshwar Hazari and the ruling JDU’s deputy leader in the assembly, Shyam Rajak.

Lalan Paswan, an MLA of the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party an NDA constituent was also among the protesters.

Asked about their participation in the protest despite being part of the ruling coalition in the state and at the Centre, they said: We are Dalits first. We owe our current standing to our Dalit identity.” The Supreme Court had on March 20 ordered that there shall be no immediate arrest based on a complaint filed under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Before arresting a public servant under the Act, a preliminary probe by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent is a must, the court had said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.