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Supreme Court Uses "Extraordinary Power" To Acquit Man in SC/ST Act Case

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    8th Nov, 2021

Context

Using "extraordinary powers" granted to the Supreme Court, it set aside proceedings against a man convicted under the scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. 

What is SC/ST Act?

  • The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, or the SC/ST Act protects the marginalised communities against discrimination and atrocities.
  • Popularly known as POA, the SC/ST Act, was enacted on September 9, 1989.
  • The Act lists 22 offences relating to various patterns or behaviours inflicting criminal offences and breaking the self-respect and esteem of the scheduled castes and tribes community.
    • This includes denial of economic, democratic and social rights, discrimination, exploitation and abuse of the legal process.
  • Objective: To deliver justice to marginalised through proactive efforts, giving them a life of dignity, self-esteem and a life without fear, violence or suppression from the dominant castes.

The case

  • The case, dating back to 1994, pertained to a clash between two neighbours – Ramawatar and Prembai – over a land dispute in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • In the heat of the moment, Ramawatar had thrown a brick at Prembai and used casteist slurs and derogatory remarks at her.

SC’s Extraordinary Power

  • Supreme Court uses extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India.
  • Article 142 of the Constitution empowers the Supreme Court with extraordinary or absolute powers to pass any decree to ensure the delivery of “complete justice”.
  • The provision is usually used in cases involving human rights and environmental protection
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