Centre not to challenge provision of anticipatory bail brought in anti-atrocities law

Centre not to challenge provision of anticipatory bail brought in anti-atrocities law
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New Delhi, April 3: The Centre on Tuesday agreed before the Supreme Court that it would not assail the provision of anticipatory bail brought in under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Arguing on behalf of the Union government on a review petition against the March 20 judgement, Attorney General K K Venugopal preferred to confine his challenge to the directions that a public servant cannot be arrested without an approval from the appointing authority and a private person from the SSP, among others.
He also questioned the order making it mandatory for a DySP level officer to conduct a preliminary inquiry if allegations make out a case under the Atrocities Act.
The top law officer also sought reconsideration of the order that any violation of the twin directions will be actionable by way of disciplinary action as well as contempt.
A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit were specially constituted to take up the urgent hearing plea made by the Union government as a countrywide ‘bandh’ was called on Monday to protest against the judgement, resulting in the loss of lives and public properties.
As the bench maintained that as there is a provision of an anticipatory bail in all other cases, some forms of protection must be made available in anti-atrocities law as well, Venugopal submitted that he would confine himself to other directions.
In its judgement, the top court had said Section 18 (bar on anticipatory bail) would not apply where there is no prima facie case or to cases of patent false implication or when the allegation is motivated for extraneous reasons.
Venugopal also submitted that according to the 2016 amendment to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995, immediate compensation or other assistance has to be given to a victim belonging to the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe.
If preliminary inquiry takes time, payment of such compensation or other immediate relief may be delayed.
There may be offences under the provision of the Indian Penal Code or any other law and direction to hold preliminary inquiry may delay registration of a case in respect of such other offences also, he claimed.
The court, however, granted time to the Centre, Maharashtra government and other parties to file a written submission on their plea to reconsider the judgement passed in Dr Subhash Kashinath Mahajan Vs State of Maharashtra. (Agencies)