Key Pointers :-
- The anti-atrocities law, which protects Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from casteist slurs and discrimination, has become an instrument to “blackmail” innocent citizens and public servants, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment recently.
- The past three decades have seen complainants — who belong to the marginalised sections of society — use the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 to exact “vengeance” and satisfy vested interests.
- Instead of blurring caste lines, the Act has been misused to file false complaints to promote caste hatred, the apex court said.
- The current working of Atrocities Act may even “perpetuate casteism” if it is not brought in line and the court needs to intervene to check the “false implication of innocent citizens on caste lines.”
- The 1989 Act penalises casteist insults and even denies anticipatory bail to the suspected offenders.
The law is therefore used to rob a person of his personal liberty merely on the unilateral word of the complainant, the court said.
Guidelines issued by the SC :-
- The SC has directed that public servants can only be arrested with the written permission of their appointing authority.
- In the case of private employees, the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned should allow it.
- Besides this precaution, a preliminary inquiry should be conducted before the FIR is registered to check whether the case falls within the parameters of the Atrocities Act and if it is frivolous or motivated.
Mains Level :- Issue related to Social Empowerment of Citizens