SC/ST judgment – UPSC GS2

The Supreme Court has recalled its directions in a 2018 verdict that had effectively diluted provisions of arrest under the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,1989.
What was the 2018 verdict?
  • The Supreme Court had diluted the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,1989 to grant anticipatory bail to accused persons.
  • The apex court gave the judgement on the pretext that innocents cannot be terrorised by the provisions of the SC/ST Act and their fundamental rights need to be protected.
  • The apex court had directed that the police conduct a preliminary enquiry into whether a complaint under the law is frivolous or motivated before registering a case.
  • The court had also said that public servants could be arrested only with the written permission of their appointing authority while in the case of private employees, the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned should allow it.
  • The judgment had triggered widespread protests and compelled the government to amend the Act to negate the effect of the ruling. It had also filed a review petition against the verdict.
What was the recent judgement?
  • The apex court reasoned that human failing and not caste is the reason behind the lodging of false criminal complaints.
  • The Court also condemned its own earlier judgment saying it was against basic human dignity to treat all SC/ST community members as a liar or crook.
Additional information:
  • ’Review’ of a Supreme Court judgment is done by the same Bench.
  • ‘Overruling’ means that the law laid down in one case is overruled in another case.
  • When a higher court on appeal alters the judgment of a lower court, it is called ‘reversal’

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