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"We Didn't Incite Anyone To Commit Crime": Supreme Court vs Centre On Dalit Act
Rejecting the government's demand on the Dalit law, the Supreme Court said its judgement can't be blamed for the loss of lives.
New Delhi: The Top Court yesterday rejected the Centre's demand for a stay on its judgement on a law that protects Dalits from atrocities and said it favoured "100 per cent" the protection of the rights of the community. The Supreme Court judgement in March had led to 11 deaths, massive protests and clashes by Dalit groups across five states. The government told the top court that its verdict should be stayed and the case referred to a larger bench. The court refused to put on hold its verdict, which stopped the immediate arrest of anyone accused under the law.
Here are the top 10 updates on the Top Court hearing on the Dalit law:
1) The Regime's top law officer KK Venugopal told a bench of judges that its March 20 verdict has shaken the confidence of Dalits "in the ability of the state to protect them". He said that this judgement can be termed as "judicial activism of the court" in view of a seven-judge verdict of 2002 which dealt with "what amounts to legislation by courts".
2) Rejecting the government's demand, the Supreme Court said its judgement can't be blamed for the loss of lives. "We are hundred percent for the protection of rights of SC/ST community. Those who took law into their hands should be punished in accordance with law. Those at fault needs to be punished," the bench said.
3) "Our judgement did not incite any one to commit crime. Our judgment has been wrongly understood. The SC/ST community has full protection of this court," the top court said, refuting Mr Venugopal's argument.
4) The Top Court bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said the investigating officer must be satisfied before arresting an accused. "Our concern was that without verifying of the allegation no case should be lodged against an innocent," it said.
5) The apex Court had on March 20 said that on "several occasions", innocent citizens were being termed as accused and public servants deterred from performing their duties, which was never the intention of the legislature while enacting the Dalit law.
6) Citing previous verdicts, including introducing the collegium system of the appointment of judges, the court said, "The court has stepped in to fill the gaps in law."
7) Last month, PM Modi said his government will not let the law to prevent atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to be diluted after the Supreme Court laid down new guidelines to prevent its misuse. "I want to assure the nation that the law which has been made stringent by us will not allowed to be affected (by the SC order)... Do not get trapped by the Congress and those parties who have surrendered to the Congress culture," he had said at an event in Delhi.
8) Several opposition parties have accused the BJP and the government of being anti-Dalit.
9) PM Modi said the government acted fast to file a review petition. He said people often wonder about the delay in moving the top court. "But only a few know that there were public holidays in between. When I tell this to people, they realise how fast we acted," he said.
10) The Top Court will take up the case again on May 16.