Supreme Courts Recall its SC/ST Atrocities Judgement


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The Supreme Court has recalled its March 20, 2018 judgment on SC/ST atrocities Act calling that the judgment was against basic human dignity.


  • On March 20, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Goel gave a verdict that diluted the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act which led to large scale protests and the central government had taken ordinance route to bring back the original provisions.
  • Justice Goel (now retired) allowed accused persons to be granted anticipatory bail and directed the police to conduct a preliminary inquiry to check whether the complaint was filed with a mala fide intent.
  • The two conditions of the judgment were not part of the original provisions of the SC/ST Act.
  • He further noted that the Act is being misused to lodge false complaints leading to the arrest of innocent persons.

Judgment Recalled

  • Recalling the March 20, 2018 judgment, the SC condemned its earlier judgment calling it to be against basic human dignity to treat all SC/ST community members as “a liar or crook”.
  • The review petition was filed by the Government.
  • The judgment further noted that the SC/ST community, owing to their backwardness, do not muster the courage to lodge an FIR against upper-caste persons, much less a frivolous one.

Review of A Judgment

  • A review of SC judgment means that the same bench will review its judgment.
  • This is opposed to ‘overview’ where a higher court can alter the judgment of a lower court. It also allows the law to change in one case can be overruled in another case by a higher court.
  • In the current case, as the judges who passed the March 2018 judgment was retired, the case was referred to a higher three-judge bench.

The SC/ST Act

  • The SC/ST act was enacted in 1989.
  • It was enacted to further the abolition of untouchability (Article 17) and equality under the Constitution (Articles 14, 15).
  • The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of the country have faced various offenses, humiliations, indignities by the people of upper castes.
  • For the current judgment, the SC bench took into consideration the Statement of Objects & Reasons of the Bill.


The SC has rightly recalled its previous judgment. For thousands of years, the SC/ST community has been the most suppressed sections of the country. The SC/ST Act is the only deterrent these communities have against upper caste atrocities against them.

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