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Days after several Dalit outfits led a violent protest against the alleged dilution of several provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) bill by the Supreme Court, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday agreed to reintroduce the bill in the Parliament with an aim to restore the original provisions of the Act.

News agency ANI quoted sources as saying that the SC/ST  (Prevention of Atrocities) bill will be tabled during the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament.

The decision by the Union Cabinet comes days ahead of a nationwide bandh called by several Dalit outfits over the alleged dilution of the SC/ST bill by the top court.

Dalit outfits had criticised the Supreme Court ruling of March in which it introduced several safeguards in the SC/ST Act, They alleged that the SC ruling had diluted the Act and rendered it toothless.

The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid the deadline fixed by Dalit organisations and LJP (Lok Janshakti Party) to overturn the ruling of the Supreme Court in the matter.

The LJP, which is an ally of the BJP-led NDA, has also threatened to join 'Bharat Bandh' protest of August 9 called by the Dalit outfits against the ruling of the top court.

Objections were also raised on the appointment of former Supreme Court judge Justice AK Goel as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairman.

Goel is one of the judges who passed the judgement of diluting provisions of the SC/ST Act.

The Supreme Court in a March 20 ruling had barred immediate arrests in cases registered under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

The SC/ST Act protects the marginalised communities against discrimination and atrocities.

The verdict was widely criticised by the Dalit organisations and the Opposition parties which claimed that the dilution of the Act will lead to more discrimination and crime against the backward community.

On April 2, Dalit organisations across the country staged a massive protest against the judgment of the top court.

Later, the Centre filed a review petition against the ruling, which went in vain as the top court refused to stay its order and asked all parties to submit detailed replies.

English Summary

Union Cabinet approves bill to overturn SC order on SC/ST Act ahead of 'Bharat Bandh' on August 9

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