Union law ministry is preparing to file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 that puts a stop to immediate arrests in complaints filed under its provisions.
Previously, in an attempt to curb the misuse of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989) and protect honest public servants Supreme Court gave following verdict:
- An arrest is not mandatory under the SC/ST Act, and the automatic arrest has been scrapped.
- The court further directed that public servants can only be arrested with the written permission of their appointing authority. This was to protect public servants and private employees from arbitrary arrests under the Atrocities Act
- Supreme Court also ruled that before arresting a public servant under the Act, a preliminary investigation by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent is a must
SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was enacted in the year 1989. It is a comprehensive law which not only defines atrocities against SCs and STs but also make several rules, regulations etc. for proper protection of these vulnerable classes. One of the provisions of the law states that public servant (non SC/ST) neglecting his duties related to SCs/STs will be punished with imprisonment for a term of 6 months to 1 year. Ministry of Social Justice is the nodal ministry to enforce the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.