Day 7 Arguments

Legality of SC/ST Act Amendment

September 25th 2019

Today, the Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S Ravindra Bhat was expected to hear the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the 2018 Amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Earlier this month, the Court had reserved its judgment in the review petitions challenging the decision in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan.

The decision in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan had led to the enactment the 2018 Amendment. Along with reserving its judgment in the review petition, the Bench had also directed that the petitions challenging the constitutionality of the amendments be heard this week, starting from today.

The proceedings for the day started with the Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal, submitting that the outcome in the review petitions had a direct bearing on the constitutionality challenge. Hence, he requested that the hearing be deferred till the judgment in the review petition is pronounced. The Bench was sympathetic to this submission and directed that the hearing be resumed once the judgment in the review petitions is pronounced.

The hearing for the day also saw a request being made for the appointment of an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter. The Bench rejected the request, observing that since there are contesting parties on both sides, there was no need to appoint an amicus curiae. The Court also rejected a request by one of the parties to file written submissions in the review petition, stating that the matter had already been reserved for judgment and it was too late to take any more documents on record.