Govt will bring ordinance on SC/ST Act if needed

National

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the NDA government is committed to maintaining the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in its original form and would consider bringing an ordinance if required.

“The government is determined to maintaining the law as it was enacted. If it calls for bringing in a legislation, we will consider doing it,” he said.

Dalit groups have been protesting the apex court order, which has allowed provision for anticipatory bail and introduced safeguards for accused.

A ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by them against it on April 2 had turned violent, leading to deaths of at least 11 people.

The sources said a group of ministers headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh had met on April 11 to discuss various aspects of the matter and a view emerged that the apex court order had created an “unrest”.

They also believed that an additional solicitor general, who had represented the Centre when the SC heard the matter, did not convey the official position forcefully.

Besides Singh, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thavarchand Gehlot attended the meeting.

The government has maintained that the court never made it formally a party to the case in which it delivered the order.

Paswan told reporters that the government has acted swiftly in the case by filing a review plea within two weeks of the order and rejected the Opposition’s charge that the NDA government was “anti-Dalit”.

 

PTI