Under pressure after several rounds of protests by Dalit groups and the Opposition Congress, Narendra Modi-led NDA government on Friday relented and decided to file a review petition against the Supreme Court ruling on Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Announcing the central government’s decision, Union Minister Thawarchand Gehlot appealed to all the protesting people and groups to end their agitation.
“The government of India has decided to file a review petition against the Supreme Court ruling on Atrocities Act. I request all the protesting people and groups to call off their agitation,” Gehlot tweeted.
The apex court had laid down new guidelines that protect public servants from immediate arrest after a complaint is filed against them under the SC/ST Atrocities Act.
On March 23, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, along with other party MPs had gathered outside the Gandhi Statue in Parliament to protest against the Centre for not filing a review petition against the top court ruling.
Earlier on March 21, the Congress president had said that the "complicit" Modi government was working in favour of “anti-Dalit” BJP and RSS and failed to defend the act in the Supreme Court.
“The SC/ST Act is the most important instrument to prevent atrocities on Dalits/Adivasis. A complicit Modi Govt failed to defend it in the Supreme Court. The PM must not abdicate his duty in favour of the anti-Dalit mindset of the BJP/RSS,” Rahul had said.
On Wednesday, a delegation of NDA's SC and ST MPs, led by LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Gehlot, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the apex court judgement diluting provisions of the atrocities act.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) have also conveyed their views and demanded a review of the verdict, saying the original Act, as it existed before the SC verdict, should be restored.
(With inputs from agencies)