Judgement of the day: Prithvi Raj Chauhan v. Union of India

JUDGES: Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat


FACTS OF THE CASE:

• In this case the constitutional validity of section 18-A of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act,2018 was challenged by the petitioners.


• The petition was filed on the ground that section 18-A of the said Act nullifies the decision of Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. The State of Maharashtra & anr. Where the court held that the provisions of Prevention of Atrocities Act was misused.


• The court had introduced several safeguards in Kashinath Mahajan case but the parliament overturned these safeguards by the amendment in the Act. The safeguards given in this case were-

1. Conduct of preliminary inquiry before registration of First Information Report.

2. Investigating officer should receive approval before arrest.

3. Anticipatory bail to accused, notwithstanding any judgment or order or direction of any court.


• This amendment has diluted the effect of Kashinath Mahajan the intention of Kashinath Mahajan Judgement was to prevent the people from abusing the Act.


• After passing of Kashinath Mahajan the parliament took a step to undo the judgment as it causes so much violence and protest by the Dalits and Adivasis group and placed the amendment bill in the parliament.


• Review petition challenging the Kashinath Mahajan judgment was filed before the Supreme Court of India.


• The legislature even has not waited for the court to hear the review petition filed which challenging the judgment.


• Supreme court issued notice on 7th September, 2018 to the central government to submit its response to the petition.


• In response to the notice, the central government file affidavit and stated that-

1. The legislature is competent to make changes through the process of 2. Large number of acquittal cases under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities Act) do not indicate the cases to be fake.


• Several petitions were filed challenging the 2018 Amendment.


• On 13th September, 2019 the review petition was referred by division bench comprising Arun Mishra and UU Lalit to three-judges bench.


• After hearing before three-judges bench, the court upheld the constitutional validity of the 2018 Amendment.


JUDGEMENT:


• In this case the three-judge bench of Supreme Court of India has upheld the Constitutional validity of section 18-A of “The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act,2018” and had nullified the effect of Kashinath Mahajan case. The court held that the directions given in Kashinath Mahajan case had placed unnecessary burden upon people of Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribes.


• While dealing with the section 18-A of the Act, the court said that while looking into the provision of section 18 with respect to preliminary inquiry before registration of FIR, the inquiry is permissible only in conditions laid down in Lalita Kumari v. Government of U.P.

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