New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday set March 26 as the date for the final hearing of pleas challenging Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2018 Amendment Act that rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs and the review plea against the March 20, 2018, judgement.

The court has assigned at least three days for hearing the case starting March 26.

The main review petition, along with all the connected matters, was listed for hearing before the bench of Justices U U Lalit and Indu Malhotra today. Attorney General K K Venugopal and senior advocates Indira Jaising and Mohan Parasaran, representing various parties in the case, were asked by the top court the time they required for making their submissions.

The pleas sought that the new amendments to the act be declared ‘ultra vires’ or beyond the powers. The amendments rule out the provision for anticipatory bail notwithstanding any court order. The plea seeks the removal of preliminary inquiry which was earlier required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.

Parliament had, in August 2018, brought in an amendment to the SC/ST Act inserting additional provisions that effectively reversed the Supreme Court’s judgment. Petitions challenging this amendment are also tagged with the review petition and will be heard together.

While hearing the Centre’s review petition last year, the court had stated that it had only asked the settled law of arrest while passing the controversial judgment. It had refused to stay its judgment while observing so.

After the Centre introduced the SC/ST Amendment Act, the same was challenged in the Supreme Court. The petition was filed by advocates Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Priya Sharma stating the arbitrary manner in which the Centre altered the directions issued by the top court in the SC/ST judgement after examining all the relevant facts and data on the act.