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SC Upholds Constitutional Validity Of SC/ST Amendment Act, 2018

SC said that a court can grant anticipatory bail only when a prima facie case is not made out.

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court (SC) of India on Monday upheld the constitutional validity of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018 enacted to counter the social implications of the March 20, 2018, judgment of the court which had diluted the provisions of the Act.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that a court can grant anticipatory bail only in cases where a prima facie case is not made out. Justices Vineet Saran and Ravindra Bhat are the other members of the Bench.

The bench said that a preliminary inquiry is not essential before lodging an FIR under the act and the approval of senior police officials is not needed.


Justice Ravindra Bhat said that in a concurring verdict that every citizen needs to treat fellow citizens equally and foster the concept of fraternity.

He said that a court can quash the FIR if a prima facie case is not made out under the SC/ST Act and the liberal use of anticipatory bail will defeat the intention of Parliament.

The top court’s verdict came on a batch of PILs challenging the validity of the SC/ST Amendment Act of 2018. PILs were filed to nullify the effect of the apex court’s 2018 ruling, which had diluted the provisions of the stringent Act.


Background:

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court had held in its March 20, 2018 verdict that there will be no automatic arrest on a complaint filed under the SC/ST Amendment Act 2018. The bench had also introduced anticipatory bail provision under the Act.

However, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on September 30, 2019, restored the automatic arrest in cases of atrocities against SC and STs. The Centre had filed a review petition before the Supreme Court asking it to review its March 2018 order.

The SC/ST Amendment Act 2018:

The SC/ST Amendment Act 2018 excludes the provision of anticipatory bail for a person who has been accused of atrocities against SC and STs.


Under the act, the investigating officer does not require the approval of any authority to arrest the person accused of such crimes.

Further, the act also does not mandate a preliminary enquiry before registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against the person accused under the Act.

Petitioners:

The judgement was delivered on petitions, which argued that the 2018 Amendment to the SC/ST Act should be struck down, as it violates Articles 14, 19, 21 of the Indian constitution.

The petitioners contended that the amendments including the exclusion of anticipatory bail are arbitrary and unjust.

The petitioners stated that being born as an upper caste cannot be the sole ground for a presumption of guilt so as to deprive a person of his liberty without an opportunity before an independent forum.

They argued that the power of arrest should only be exercised after complying with all the safeguards listed under Sections 41 and 41A of the Cr.P.C such as scrutiny, credible information and just and reasonable procedure.

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COVID19

COVID-19: Govt Grants More Relaxations For Agriculture And Allied Sectors

The govt has issued the 4th Addendum to its notification invoking the Disaster Management Act.

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NEW DELHI: Center has granted a slew of exemptions and relaxations for Agriculture and Allied sectors in view of the 21-day lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

In order to ensure that the farmers do not suffer from any adverse fallout, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued the 4th Addendum to its notification invoking the Disaster Management Act.

According to the latest Addendum, shops of Agricultural machinery, its spare parts, including supply chain and repairs and shops for truck repairs on highways, preferably at fuel pumps, can remain open. This will facilitate the transportation of farm produce.


The tea industry, including plantations, can also function with a maximum of fifty per cent workers.

The Home Ministry has emphasized that the head of the organization or establishment will ensure the practice of social distancing norms and proper hygiene. The District authorities have been directed to ensure strict enforcement of the orders.

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COVID19

COVID-19: Govt Releases First Installment Of Rs 11,092 Crore Under SDRF

601 fresh confirmed cases of COVID- 19 have been reported in India during the last 24 hours.

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NEW DELHI: 601 fresh confirmed cases of novel coronavirus or COVID- 19 have been reported in the country during the last 24 hours taking the total number to 2902. Out of the total cases, 183  patients have recovered and discharged from the hospitals while 68 patients have died.

Briefing media in New Delhi on April 4, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Lav Aggarwal said that the cases reported in the country are much lesser than those detected in other countries.

Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava said that the lockdown measures are being effectively implemented. She said that the availability of essential goods and items are satisfactory.


Elaborating further, she informed that the first instalment of 11,092 crore rupees under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) was released yesterday.

On cases related to Tablighi Jamaat workers, Srivastava said,  through a massive effort around 22,000 Tableeghi Jamaat workers and their contacts have been quarantined.

He said, 9 per cent cases are of the age group between 0 to 20 years while 42 per cent cases detected in the age group between 21 to 40 year and 33 per cent cases are related to patients between 41 to 60 year of age.


Persons above 60 years of age make 17 per cent of the total cases.

Aggarwal suggested to the high-risk people to follow the directive and guidelines issued by the government.

Aggarwal also informed that 1023 positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified from 17 states including Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Delhi, Telangana, Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, Jharkhand and Karnataka which are linked to Tablighi Jamaat cluster.

Aggarwal said that out of the total COVID-19 cases reported so far in the country, 30 per cent of them are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster.

He said that states are being provided with all kind of logistics including masks and PPEs. He said, to fight the menace of COVID-19, it is very important that the guidelines related to lockdown and social distancing, as well as the advisories of respiratory and hand hygiene measures, are followed at all level.

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COVID19

COVID-19: #9baje9minute Won’t Cause Any Grid Instability – Govt Dispels Fears

All local bodies have been advised to keep the street lights on for public safety.

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NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister has appealed to the people to voluntarily switch off their lights between 9:00 p.m to 9:09 pm on the 5th of April.

Union Ministry of Power in a statement here today has said that some apprehensions have been expressed that this may cause instability in the grid and fluctuation in voltage which may harm the electrical appliances.

Dispelling these apprehensions, Ministry of Power has said that they are misplaced.

The Ministry has emphasised that Indian electricity grid is robust and stable and adequate arrangements and protocols are in place to handle the variation in demand.


The Power Ministry further said that following may be noted:

The appeal of the Prime Minister is to simply switch off the lights in their homes from 9 pm to 9:09 pm on the 5th of April.

There is no call to switch off either street lights or appliances like Computers, TVs, Fans, Refrigerators and ACs in the homes.


Only lights should be switched off.

The lights in Hospitals and all other essential services like Public Utilities, Municipal Services, Offices, Police Stations, Manufacturing Facilities, etc will remain on.

The call given by PM is to just switch off lights in residences.

All local bodies have been advised to keep the street lights on for public safety.

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