Bharat Bandh on SC/ST ruling: Congress asks Centre to amend the Act or file curative petition before Supreme Court
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of weakening the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Congress on Monday asked the Centre to either bring an amendment to the said law or file a curative petition before the Supreme Court.
The main Opposition party said the Centre was not committed to ensuring the welfare of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the underprivileged sections of the society.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, who is a prominent Dalit face of the party, accused the government of not effectively arguing against the Supreme Court’s order on the act: “No senior law officer argued the case on behalf of the government. Also, 13 days have passed since the Supreme Court ruling and till now there have been no efforts to restore the status quo on the issue,” he said and added that the law impacted 23% of the country’s population.
Echoing Kharge’s views, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said: “I charge the government, and not the Supreme Court, with weakening and diluting the law because the Centre did not represent the case properly before the court...If the attorney general or additional attorney general had appeared before the court, the Supreme Court might not have taken the decision.”
Azad said the Congress would support the ruling side if it brought an amendment to the law in the remaining four days of the second part of the budget session. He said atrocities against Dalits and minorities were on the rise since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power in 2014 and added that if the government had taken adequate steps to ensure that the act was not “diluted” then the nationwide bandh could have been avoided.
Kharge too blamed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government for the loss of lives and property during Monday’s protests in different parts of the country.