New Delhi, Aug 3 (UNI) Under attack for allegedly ignoring the welfare of the socially deprived communities, the government on Friday introduced in the Lok Sabha The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill that seeks to restore the original provisions under which an accused could be arrested immediately.
The draft law, introduced by Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, says ‘the investigation officer shall not require approval for the arrest’ against whom an acquisition of having committed an offence under this Act has been made. It further says no preliminary inquiry shall be required for registration of an FIR against the accused.
Bringing in the new Bill has been necessitated in the wake of Supreme Court verdict on March 20 that had ordered virtual dilution of certain clauses and provisions of the previous Act.
The statement of the objective of the Bill says that provisions of immediate arrest and registering of FIR are essential as ‘preliminary inquiry and approval would only delay the filing of a charge sheet.
It further says ‘The principles of criminal jurisprudence and section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure implies that once the investigation officer has reasons to suspect that an offence has been committed, he can arrest an accused. This decision to arrest or not to arrest cannot be taken away from the investigating officer.’
The 1989 law prohibited anticipatory bail, saying an accused on bail may use his liberty to terrorise his victims.
The Supreme Court in its March 20 order on a writ from an individual had banned immediate arrest of a person accused of insulting or injuring a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe member.
The court maintained the order was meant to protect innocents from arbitrary arrest and not an affront to Dalit rights.
The Centre later approached the Supreme Court with a review petition and said original clause of the law should be upheld.
The government had come under attack from the opposition parties for alleged role in ‘diluting’ the rights of the Dalits.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Lok Sabha on Thursday that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was firm about bringing the necessary Bill to ‘restore’ original provisions of the 1989 Act.
“Prime Minister had made it clear from beginning that on this there will be no ifs and buts not even a comma will be changed,” Singh had said.