A sound review: On SC judgment against atrocities on SCs/STs

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A sound review: On SC judgment against atrocities on SCs/STs

Supreme Court’s order on anti-atrocities law is a caution against entering legislative domain
After last year’s amendments(संशोधनों ) aimed(उद्देश्य ) at nullifying(कम करना) the effect(प्रभाव) of a Supreme Court judgment that was seen as diluting( कमजोर करना) the law against atrocities(अत्याचार/उद्दंडता) on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled(अनुसूचित ) Tribes(जनजाति), the apex court’s decision(निर्णय) recalling(वापस लेना) the earlier verdict(फैसला/निर्णय) may not appear very significant(महत्वपूर्ण/सार्थक). However, the latest order by a three-judge Bench on the Centre’s petition(याचिका) seeking a review(समीक्षा ) is more than a mere academic exercise. Its sound reasoning and sympathetic(सहानुभूति/दया-युक्त ) reconsideration(पुनर्विचार) have fortified(दृढ़/मजबूत किया) the legislative measure(उपाय) to restore(बहाल करने) the law on atrocities(अत्याचार ) committed on Dalits as originally(मूल रूप से) conceived(विचार करना/कल्पना ) by Parliament. The March 2018 decision laid down three new rules as safeguards against the Act’s possible(संभावित ) misuse(दुरुपयोग): that the bar on anticipatory(अग्रिम ) bail(जमानत) under Section 18 need not prevent(रोकने/प्रतिबंध करना ) courts from granting advance bail; that a person can be arrested only if the “appointing authority” (in the case of a public servant) or the SP (in the case of others) approves such arrest; and that there should be a preliminary enquiry into all complaints(शिकायतों). It caused(वजह) an uproar among Dalits, and a nation-wide protest in August last year turned violent(हिंसक ) in some places. There was political clamour(तनातनी) for Parliament’s intervention(हस्तक्षेप/व्यवधान) to restore the anti-atrocities law to its original(मूल ) rigour(कठोरता). That the Bench declined(अस्वीकार करना) to stay its own order when a review was sought spurred the government into action.

There was widespread(व्यापक ) criticism(आलोचना) then that the BJP’s perceived(माना जाता है/समझना) espousal(साहभागिता) of upper caste interests and its weak submissions in court had led to the verdict. It was even argued that the Centre was under political compulsion(मजबूरी/विवशता) to undo the perception(धारणा ) that the interests of the SCs and STs were in danger. The court’s re-examination(पुनः परीक्षा), on the contrary, is anchored(जोड़ना/लंगर) in sound principles. It first underscores that special laws for the protection of SC and ST communities flow from social realities(वास्तविकताओं/सच्चाई), the discrimination(भेदभाव ) they still face and the circumstances(परिस्थिति) that preclude(रोकना/बंद करना) them from mustering(जुटाना) the courage(साहस) to lodge a complaint in the first place. The court assails the assumption(धारणा) that SC/ST members are more likely to give false(झूठी ) complaints(शिकायतें) than the general population (as evidenced(स्पष्ट ) by the fact(तथ्य ) that there is no preliminary enquiry(जांच ) or prior(पूर्व ) sanction(स्वीकृति) for arrest envisaged(परिकल्पित) for other complaints). In other words, the additional “safeguards” against the alleged(कथित ) abuse(अपशब्द/दुर्व्यवहार) of law by Dalits is another form of discrimination(भेदभाव /विवेक), the court has pointed out. Further, it rejects the idea of treating Dalits as people prone to lodging false complaints. The directions for getting an authority’s(प्राधिकरण ) sanction(मंजूरी) for arrest or holding a preliminary enquiry for this class of cases alone are extra-statutory, and clearly amount to the judiciary engaging in legislation. The review is a timely reminder that the top court’s power to pass any order required to uphold justice cannot be used to give directives(सुझाव) contrary(विपरीत) to existing laws or to supplant them altogether.

Important Vocabulary

1. Atrocities(अत्याचार/उद्दंडता)
Synonyms: barbarity, horror, atrociousness, barbarousness, enormity
Antonyms: good behavior, kindness, pleasantness, pleasantry

2.Abuse(अपशब्द/दुर्व्यवहार
Synonyms: corruption, crime, exploitation, injustice, misconduct
Antonyms: good deed, kindness, obedience,. goodness, acclamation

3. Anchored(जोड़ना/लंगर
Synonyms: attach, dock, fasten, fix, moor
Antonyms: detach, disconnect, loose, loosen, unfasten

4. Conceived(विचार करना/कल्पना
Synonyms: accept, assume, believe, perceive, realize
Antonyms: neglect, avoid, be immune, disbelieve, dislike

5.Caused(वजह)
Synonyms: begin, create, generate, induce, lead to
Antonyms: destroy, discourage, end, halt, prevent

6. Declined(अस्वीकार करना)
Synonyms: deny, dismiss, refuse, reject, abjure
Antonyms: accept, allow, approve, grant, sanction

7. Diluting( कमजोर करना)
Synonyms: adulterate, alter, decrease, diminish, lessen
Antonyms: aggravate, develop, enlarge, expand

8. Envisaged(परिकल्पित)
Synonyms: anticipate,behold, conceive, conceptualize, contemplate

9. Espousal(साहभागिता
Synonyms: banns, betrothal, bridal, marriage, matrimony
Antonyms: divorce

10. Fortified(दृढ़/मजबूत किया
Synonyms: barricaded, covered, guarded, protected, reinforced
Antonyms: open, unguarded, unprotected

11. Prevent(रोकने/प्रतिबंध करना )
Synonyms: avert, avoid, bar, block, counter
Antonyms: advance, aid, allow, approve, assist

12. Perceived(माना जाता है/समझना
Synonyms: anticipated,recognized, felt, grasped, heard

13. Restore(बहाल करने
Synonyms: bring back, build up, improve, modernize, rebuild
Antonyms: damage, decline, destroy, harm, hurt

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

Supreme Court’s order on anti-atrocities law is a caution against entering legislative domain
After last year’s amendments aimed at nullifying the effect of a Supreme Court judgment that was seen as diluting the law against atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the apex court’s decision recalling the earlier verdict may not appear very significant. However, the latest order by a three-judge Bench on the Centre’s petition seeking a review is more than a mere academic exercise. Its sound reasoning and sympathetic reconsideration have fortified the legislative measure to restore the law on atrocities committed on Dalits as originally conceived by Parliament. The March 2018 decision laid down three new rules as safeguards against the Act’s possible misuse: that the bar on anticipatory bail under Section 18 need not prevent courts from granting advance bail; that a person can be arrested only if the “appointing authority” (in the case of a public servant) or the SP (in the case of others) approves such arrest; and that there should be a preliminary enquiry into all complaints. It caused an uproar among Dalits, and a nation-wide protest in August last year turned violent in some places. There was political clamour for Parliament’s intervention to restore the anti-atrocities law to its original rigour. That the Bench declined to stay its own order when a review was sought spurred the government into action.

There was widespread criticism then that the BJP’s perceived espousal of upper caste interests and its weak submissions in court had led to the verdict. It was even argued that the Centre was under political compulsion to undo the perception that the interests of the SCs and STs were in danger. The court’s re-examination, on the contrary, is anchored in sound principles. It first underscores that special laws for the protection of SC and ST communities flow from social realities, the discrimination they still face and the circumstances that preclude them from mustering the courage to lodge a complaint in the first place. The court assails the assumption that SC/ST members are more likely to give false complaints than the general population (as evidenced by the fact that there is no preliminary enquiry or prior sanction for arrest envisaged for other complaints). In other words, the additional “safeguards” against the alleged abuse of law by Dalits is another form of discrimination, the court has pointed out. Further, it rejects the idea of treating Dalits as people prone to lodging false complaints. The directions for getting an authority’s sanction for arrest or holding a preliminary enquiry for this class of cases alone are extra-statutory, and clearly amount to the judiciary engaging in legislation. The review is a timely reminder that the top court’s power to pass any order required to uphold justice cannot be used to give directives contrary to existing laws or to supplant them altogether.

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