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Above: Activists shouting slogans during pratirodh march against atrocities on dalit people in Patna (file pic)/Photo: UNI

The government in all likelihood will file a review petition before the apex court next week challenging its order prohibiting immediate arrest of public servants in cases under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, said agencies.

Highly-placed sources in the government told agencies that top law officers are constantly brainstorming with officials of the Ministry of Social Justice to prepare a credible review and the plea will be filed by Wednesday (March 4) as by then the grounds for the review will be ready.

Agencies also quoted Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as saying that the government has taken note of the Supreme Court judgement about laying down new norms about the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.

“I have already instructed my ministry to consider the desirability of filing a review. Appropriate follow up actions are being taken,” Prasad was quoted as saying.

On March 20, the top court in a judgement had ruled out immediate arrest of public servants in cases under SC/ST Act.

“Before effecting arrest of a public servant under SC/ST Act, a preliminary probe is a must by an officer not below the rank of Deputy SP. A public servant can be arrested in cases lodged under the Act only after grant of approval by competent authority. And there is no absolute bar in granting anticipatory bail in cases lodged against public servants under the Act,” the bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit had said.

The verdict sparked mixed reactions from all sections especially political parties with many pitching for review petition to be filed so as to preserve the basic nature of the Act to protect the SCs and STs.

—India Legal Bureau  

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