Day 8 Arguments

Legality of SC/ST Act Amendment

October 3rd 2019

Today’s hearing started off with the Bench consisting of Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S.R. Bhat observing that the issues raised in the petitions now stood answered in light of the judgment in the review petitions.

Nevertheless, Sr.Adv. Mohan Parasaran, appearing for one of the petitioners, highlighted that the amended provision regarding non-applicability of anticipatory bail to cases under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 would have to be read in light of earlier Supreme Court judgments, including that in Kartar Singh v State of Punjab (1994). He stated that these judgments have clearly held that the High Court may exercise its powers to grant anticipatory bail if no prima facie case is made out, irrespective of any other statutory bar.

Mishra J agreed that this position of law had not been changed by either Subhash Kashinath Mahajan (2019) or the review judgment and this would be clarified in the judgment in the present case.

Sr. Adv. Gopal Sankaranarayanan appearing for another petitioner highlighted that the amended provision relating to preliminary inquiry had to be interpreted in light of the decision in Lalita Kumari v Government of U.P., which had held that such enquiry may be carried out in certain exceptional cases . Mishra J agreed to this submission too and mentioned that this too will be clarified in the judgment.

With these submissions, the hearing was brought to a close and the Bench has now reserved its judgment in the matter.