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LS passes SC-ST Atrocities Bill which makes immediate arrest of accused mandatory

Last Modified Tuesday, 7 August 2018 (10:49 IST)
New Delhi: The has passed the amended Bill that seeks to restore the original provisions of The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill under which an accused could be arrested immediately.
Piloting the Bill, Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said that under the initiative of the Modi government, district courts have been set up in 30 states to look into the cases of cases of atrocities against the members of the deprived communities. Moreover, 14 states more than one such court has been set up to ensure that justice is delivered to SC-ST people.
Countering Opposition allegation of adopting delaying tactics once the Supreme Court verdict came on the issue, Mr Gehlot said the government had acted promptly and within a week’s time filed review petition.
He said the provisions have been added to make the law more stringent. “We have added 25 new set of crimes in the law. The new provisions also make it clear that there will be no interim bail.”
Under the new provisions, filing charge sheet within two months has been made compulsory and also the onus will be on the court to pronounce judgement within two months.
The relief amount for the victims has been enhanced and it will be in the range of Rs 85,000 to Rs 8.25 lakh.
The draft law says “the investigation officer shall not require approval for the arrest” against whom an acquisition of having committed an offence under this Act has been made. It further says no preliminary inquiry shall be required for registration of an FIR against the accused.
Bringing in the new Bill has been necessitated in the wake of Supreme Court verdict on March 20 that had ordered virtual dilution of certain clauses and provisions of the previous Act.
The statement of the objective of the Bill says that provisions of immediate arrest and registering of FIR are essential as “preliminary inquiry and approval would only delay the filing of a charge sheet”.
It further says the principles of criminal jurisprudence and section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure implies that once the investigation officer has reasons to suspect that an offence has been committed, he can arrest an accused. This decision to arrest or not to arrest cannot be taken away from the investigating officer. (UNI)
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