The Supreme Court declined an urgent hearing on a plea which sought a stay and review of its recent verdict on SC/ST Act by which certain safeguards were put in place on automatic arrest of individuals.
All India Federation of SC/ST organisations, a conglomerate of nearly 150 employees groups, said large-scale nationwide violence has taken place in which several people have lost their lives and therefore the petition should be heard urgently.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said that the petition will be heard in due course of time.
Advocate Manoj Gaurkella, appearing for the employees federation said that the recent verdict passed by the apex court on March 20 was “unfair and unjust and it should be stayed”.
He said that this writ petition should be heard by a larger bench of five judges to decide the issue.
The apex court had on March 20 said that on “several occasions”, innocent citizens were being termed as accused and public servants deterred from performing their duties, which was never the intention of the legislature while enacting the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The top court had said that unless the exclusion of anticipatory bail is limited to “genuine cases and inapplicable to cases where there is no prima facie case was made out, there will be no protection available to innocent citizens”.
It had said that “in view of the acknowledged abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Atrocities Act, arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded.”
It also said that the reasons recorded must be scrutinised by the magistrate for permitting further detention.
To avoid false implication of an innocent, the top court directed that a preliminary enquiry may be conducted by the DSP rank officer to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the Atrocities Act and whether the allegations are not frivolous or motivated.
The ruling came on a plea of Subhash Kashinath Mahajan, who while serving as the Director of Technical Education in Maharashtra government, was accused of refusing prosecution sanction against two senior officers of the department accused under SC/ST Act by a storekeeper.
Mahajan challenged the order of May 5, 2017, of the Bombay High Court, which had refused to grant him anticipatory bail in the case and quash the FIR.