Facing criticism, Union Cabinet clears bill to restore original provisions of SC/ST Act

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Under pressure from opposition and allies over the SC\/ST Act, the government today cleared a bill that seeks to restore the stringent provision of the law that promises speedy justice to the marginalised section of the society. News agency PTI reported that the Union Cabinet has given its nod to a bill to restore the original provisions of the law. Quoting a top government source, PTI said that the bill to restore the original provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act will be brought in Parliament. The development comes a week ahead of the Dalit groups call for a Bharat Bandh on August 9 to protest against governments inaction and failure to fulfill its promise to give more teeth to the law. The government is under pressure from opposition parties and ruling partners including Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan to bring an ordinance or a bill to restore the original provisions of the law. The LJP had threatened the government that it will join the protestors if government fails to fulfill the demand. The Supreme Court had on March 20 passed an order diluting stringent provisions in the SC\/ST Act and introduced a series of guidelines to prevent the misuse of the law. The provisions included preventing the immediate arrest of government servants and also allowing the accused to seek anticipatory bail among others.