Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Tuesday suspended police orders on the implementation of Supreme Court order on SC/ST Act that bars immediate arrest of individuals accused of discriminating against Dalits.
The Chhattisgarh was among the 3 BJP ruled that rushed to implement the apex court order even while the Centre has sought a recall of the order and asked states to “do nothing to dilute the Act” in the state.
Talking to ANI, Singh said, " We have always been sensitive towards cause of SCs & STs, however state govt, just like Centre, will appeal against decision of Supreme Court. Till then the order (to strictly implement the Supreme Court order) by Police headquarters stands cancelled."
Earlier, Indian Express had reported that government of three states--- Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan -- have directed the state police officials to strictly implement the Supreme Court's order. The three states together house around 13% of the Scheduled Caste population in India.
The report added that Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka have also circulated the order informally among the state police officers and Haryana has sought legal advice.
“Once the Supreme Court issues directives, it is routine practice for the administration to issue orders to the lower rank and file to apprise them of what the Supreme Court has said. This has happened in changes of the law of juvenile justice, rape and so on. The police are duty-bound to follow Supreme Court directives. If the Supreme Court were to review the changes, then, of course, the police would do so too,” a senior police official, Chhattisgarh, told Indian Express.
Following the Supreme Court's order, Dalit groups had organised protests across the country on April 2 against the alleged dilution of the Act. The protests had turned violent at several places which left several people dead.
Opposition parties also accused the government of failing to protect Dalit rights.
The Centre, on April 3, the filed a review petition against the ruling which went in vain as the top court refused to stay its order and asked all parties including the Centre to submit detailed replies.
The Centre again last week submitted a written letter to the court where it said that the verdict on the SC/ST Act has "diluted" its stringent provisions, resulting in "great damage" to the country by causing anger and a sense of disharmony among the people.