GUWAHATI, April 2 - The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) and its Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) department today sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister of the country pleading his intervention in the matter of restoring the earlier legislation on SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities in the greater interest of the ST/ST population of the country.
The members of the APCC and its SC/ST department also staged a demonstration in front of the Raj Bhawan here and sent the above memorandum through the Governor of the State.
In their memorandum, the APCC and its SC/ST department stated that the above legislation was enacted in 1989 with a view to bringing an end to the atrocities against the SC/ST peoples of the country and thus ensure social justice to them as well as safeguard their constitutional rights. This legislation was amended and re-implemented in 2016, so that the constitutional rights and other benefits granted to these people by the government cannot be infringed.
But, the Supreme Court of India, through an order on March 20, 2018, curbed the powers of this legislation making the SC/ST peoples of the country vulnerable to atrocities. This was because of the failure of the Additional Solicitor General, who was representing the Central government, to defend the rights of the SC/ST peoples in the apex court for want of proper guidance from the Centre, said the APCC and its SC/ST department in their memorandum.
The apex court has said in the above order, in the Subhash Kashinath Mahajan versus State of Maharashtra case, that arrest of a public servant, who is alleged to have committed any crime and atrocity against any SC/ST people, can only be made after approval of the appointing authorities and of a non-public servant after approval by the SSP.
These guidelines of the Supreme Court literally make the above legislation ineffective in safeguarding the SC/ST people from atrocities, said the APCC and its SC/ST department in their memorandum and sought the intervention of the Prime Minister in filing a review petition in the Supreme Court to the modify the above order and restore the earlier version of the above legislation.