SC/ST Act ‘dilution’: Modi govt making plan to seek review, says Union minister Sampla
Even the Vidhan Sabha of Punjab last week passed a resolution to urge the Modi government to file a petition for the apex court to review its orderpunjab Updated: Mar 29, 2018 22:45 IST
Union minister of state for social justice Vijay Sampla said on Thursday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured a delegation of party leaders that the government “will soon prepare a plan” to seek review of the Supreme Court’s decision to ban immediate arrest under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The Union law ministry has reportedly since advised the government to file a review plea.
At a press conference at the Circuit House here, Sampla — a prominent SC or Dalit leader who is president of the BJP unit in Punjab, the state with the highest proportion of SCs at 32% — said resentment is brewing in the Dalit community after the order. “Considering the sentiments of the community, a delegation of BJP leaders met the PM, who gave an assurance that the government will prepare its plan for seeking review of the order,” said Sampla, who is a member of the Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur segment that falls in Punjab’s Dalit heartland, Doaba region.
Even the Vidhan Sabha of Punjab — ruled by the Congress at present — last week passed a resolution to urge the Modi government to file a petition for the apex court to review its order by which it banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the Act to apparently curb its misuse. The apex court’s order said accused can get anticipatory bail if a court, prima facie (at first sight), finds the complaint is an abuse of the law, false, motivated and intended to blackmail or harass a person.
Allies in the Centre’s ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance have also protested the “dilution” of the Act. Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party ( LJP) and Ramdas Athawale’s Republican Party of India (RPI), both partners of the BJP, have previously announced that they would file review petitions in the apex court.
Sampla, meanwhile, underlined that the NDA government had got made amendments to the SC/ST Act “that were applauded by the Dalits then”. He was apparently referring to amendments legislated in 2016 that expanded the ambit of the law.
Further, Sampla said the Dalits are “nowhere” in industries “nor do they have agricultural land”, hence they depend on jobs; “for this, the BJP government has made many schemes for them to be able to get jobs”. He added, “We are also giving loans under various schemes, without taking any guarantee, to the community’s members to uplift their standard.”
Speaking on personals attacks made by leaders during the recent assembly session, Sampla said they should “at least take care of the code of conduct”. “The leaders are voice of the people, and, in Vidhan Sabha or in Parliament, they should not make personal attacks. Instead, they should raise the problems and the voice of the people.”