India

SC gives Centre six weeks to reply on pleas challenging SC/ST Act amendments

The Supreme Court today sought response from the Centre on a batch of pleas seeking to declare the fresh amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act made by Parliament, as ultra vires.

A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan issued notice to the Centre and sought its reply within six weeks. The court was hearing pleas which alleged that both Houses of Parliament had “arbitrarily” decided to amend the law and restored previous provisions in such a manner so that an innocent cannot avail the right of anticipatory bail. Parliament on August 9 had passed a bill to overturn the apex court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe law. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha. It had got the nod of the Lok Sabha on August 6.