Skip to main content

Demand for including anti-atrocities Act under 9th Schedule to "protect" it from any future judicial review

By Our Representative
Taking a tough stance following the April 2 Bharat bandh, India's top Dalit-Adivasi apex body fighting for the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, or POA Act, and it's 2015 amendment, has demanded that the POA Act be included in the Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, so that it gets the protection in the matter of judicial review.
The top apex body's statement comes close on the heels of the Supreme Court declining to stay it's controversial March 20 ruling, which had said the POA Act was being used to blackmail innocent people. Dalit organizations across the country called for Bharat bandh on April 2 to protest against the ruling. Nine persons, seven of them Dalits, died during the bandh, which turned violent in several parts of India.
While the Government of India filed a review petition in the Supreme Court of India, the National Coalition for Strengthening POA Act (NCSPA), a platform of more than 500 Dalit and Adivasi civil society organisations, regretted, "The highest court of the country denied an urgent hearing of the matter."
NCSPA said, "Later the review petition was admitted after mentioning the urgency before the Chief Justice. The same bench heard the matter around 2 PM on Wednesday, but declined to give a stay on its verdict dated March 20 and further asked the parties to file written submissions to hear the matter after 10 days."
Calling the trend "frightening", NCSPA said, "Article 31-B of the Ninth Schedule will ensure that POA Act 1989 and POA Amendment Act 2015 and its provisions once included cannot be deemed to be void, or ever to have become void, on the ground that such Act or its provisions are inconsistent with the Constitution."
Under such a situation, said NCSPA, that the Act and its provisions "cannot be curtailed by any judgment or order of any court", adding, "Presently, 284 legislations are included in Ninth Schedule, and these relate to the zamindari abolition, state level land reforms, reservation in educational institutions, the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976", and so on.
NCSPA said, it is deeply disappointed the Central and state governments tried to forcefully quell the peaceful protestors all over the country on April 2, adding, "We are anguished that the police personnel used excessive force with the protestors and resorted to lathi charge to disperse the peaceful protesters."
Pointing out that "several protesters were injured and killed in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh", it added, in Uttar Pradesh alone, "448 people were detained". All this suggested the "incapability of the police personnel and lack of sincerity of the central government and judiciary, towards the repressive ruling."
NCSPA underscored, "People at the grassroots and many Dalit and people's organisations are losing confidence and faith in the will and ability of the government and the judiciary in addressing these core and critical issues facing the country", especially when the recent trend shows that "there is an increase in atrocities against Dalits by 5.5% in 2016 (40,801) over 2015 (38,670), and increase in atrocities against Adivasis by 4.7% in 2016 (6,568) over 2015 (6,276)."
Asking the Government of India to "urgently move a reference to the larger bench of the Supreme Court on the judgment dated March 20", NCSPA said, it should seek to "revisit the judgment, rescind the directions, expunge certain observations therein, and present a holistic picture such as the socio-historical background of the Act."

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Palm oil industry 'deceptively using' geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice.