New Delhi, April 12: The Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday that by “diluting” the SC/ST Act, the latter had caused “damage” to the nation. It also said the Supreme Court had been misled into believing that it had the power to legislate. In his written reply, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said that the court’s judgement had caused “commotion”, “anger, unease, and a sense of disharmony” in the country.
The bench comprising Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit resumed hearing in the case against which the Centre had filed a review petition following nation-wide Bharat Bandh and ten deaths in the ensuing violence. The Supreme Court had then said that it refused to give in to pressure and refused a stay on the verdict.
Meanwhile, the Centre’s reply was specifically directed at two parts of the Court’s judgement. The court had said that before an arrest of a public servant under the Act, an approval had to be sought from the appointing authority. For the arrest of someone other than a public servant, the SSP’s nod was needed. The other said that a preliminary inquiry had to be conducted by the DSP to see if a case was made out under the Act. While these changes were meant to protect honest public servants from being dragged into false cases, the Centre said, “Bland statement that ‘power to declare law carries with it, within the limit of duty, to make law when none exists’ is wholly fallacious because we live under a written Constitution of which separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary is the very basic structure and is inviolable.”
In the written submission, the Attorney-General asked the apex court for a review of the judgement and a recall of the changes made in the Act.
The March 20 judgement of the Supreme Court had banned immediate and automatic arrests under the Act. In fact, the Supreme Court had ruled that a preliminary inquiry would be conducted by the police to ascertain that the charges weren’t superficial.
Earlier, defending its judgement, the court had said, “We have not diluted any provision of the SC/ST Act and only safeguarded the interest of the innocent from being arrested. Provisions of the Act cannot be used to terrorise the innocents.”