New Delhi: The Union government on Monday moved the apex court seeking review of the recent verdict that arrest is not mandatory under the SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act and the accused is entitled for anticipatory bail.
The court also held that arrest could be effected only after a preliminary enquiry that prima facie case is made out for arrest.
Further, it was held that prior sanction from competent authority is mandatory for prosecuting the government servants accused of harassing Dalits and Tribals.
Seeking to review the verdict, the Centre said the procedural checks by way of preliminary enquiry would tend to reduce the rates of registration of cases, conviction, increase the pendency and per se would act as deterrent in even filing FIRs.
Normally review petitions are heard in the chamber by the judges who delivered the judgment and invariably such petitions will be dismissed without any hearing. Therefore the Centre has prayed for an open court hearing of the case.
The Centre pointed out that though the right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution is available to the accused, the same right is also available to the SC/ST as in several brutal incidents, they have been deprived of their life and property. Serious crimes are committed against them for various historical, social and economic reasons.
Quoting the 2016 data of the National Crime Records Bureau, the Centre said 47,338 cases were registered under the SC/ST Act and only 24.9 per cent of the said cases ended in conviction.