New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday declines to stay the new amendments to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 2018 by which the Central government overcame a judgment by the top court.
While the top court had in March 2018 diluted the provisions of the law, the Parliament negated it by passing the amendments in August.
On Thursday, a bench headed by Justice AK Sikri said that the court will not stay these amendments till a final decision is delivered on a bunch of petitions relating to the issue.
"There can't be any interim order in such matters," observed the bench, as it also refused to pass any interim order on possible safeguards against arrests in such cases.
Representing the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that the court should decide the review petition, filed against the March 2018 judgement first, before these fresh petitions against the amendments are taken up.
On the other hand, senior advocate Vikas Singh and Gopal Sankarnarayanan, appearing for the petitioners against the amendments, questioned why the government brought in a new law when its review petition was already pending in the top court.
The bench, at this, referred the matter to the Chief Justice of India to take a call on the administrative side whether both the review petition and these fresh writ petitions should be heard together due to common issues.
A bunch of petitions have opposed recent amendments to the SC/ST Act, which nullified the SC verdict on diluting the law by making provisions for anticipatory bail, preliminary inquiry and sanction of the appointing authority before making arrests.
In its reply to these petitions, the Centre has justified the amendments brought in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The government said Parliament has the power to bring such amendment and the attempt has been to strengthen a law to ward off atrocities against the socially marginalised sections.