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Dalit body demands Centre to challenge SC ruling on SC/ST Act

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New Delhi, Mar 21:A Dalit body has appealed to the Centre to  challenge a Supreme Court judgement over enforcement of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, saying the verdict would have a “negative impact” on the concept of social justice.

The executive committee of the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) expressed its grave concern over the judgement and dubbed it as “unfortunate”.

The apex court yesterday took note of the rampant misuse of the stringent Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against government servants and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.

Before arresting a public servant under the SC/ST Act, a preliminary probe by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent is a must, the court ruled.

The Manch demanded that the government file a review petition immediately so that the act remains effective, general secretary of the organisation and former MP Ramchandra Dom said in a statement.

“This judgement has a negative impact on the concept of social justice which is a basic principle enshrined in the Constitution,” he said.

He claimed that the court had “most unfortunately” modified Section 18 of the Act in the name of “misuse” but the truth was that in cases of atrocities against SCs and STs not only was the conviction rate “very low” but there was a “delay at every stage”.