Rajnath said this while responding to the issue after it was raised by the Congress during Zero Hour in the lower house.
New Delhi: A day after the Union Cabinet approved restoration of the original provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, including the one on immediate arrest of an accused, home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday asserted in Lok Sabha that the Centre wants to pass the amendment bill in the ongoing session of Parliament itself.
He said this while responding to the issue after it was raised by the Congress during Zero Hour in the lower house.
Mr Singh said he was surprised why the Congress was raising the issue in Parliament when only on Wednesday the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cleared the amendments in the bill, restoring its original provisions. He added, amid thumping of tables by the treasury benches, that the NDA government wants to pass the bill it in this session.
Mr Singh sought to remind the Opposition that Mr had said after the Supreme Court’s verdict that the government will not allow any dilution in this Act and, if needed, it will bring a more stringent legislation to prevent atrocities against the SCs and STs.
Earlier raising the issue, leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge questioned why an ordinance in this regard had not been brought even after four months of the apex court’s ruling. He claimed atrocities against the SCs and STs have been on the rise.
Earlier, when the House assembled for the day Congress members tried to raise the issue and trooped into the well of the House, creating noisy scenes.
They went back to their seats only after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s assurance that she will allow the issue to be raised during Zero Hour.
Speaking during the Zero Hour, Mr Kharge said that protection of SCs and STs was very important and the law regarding it must be strengthened.
He claimed that 25 per cent of the country’s population had become vulnerable to atrocities following the March 20 Supreme Court order related to the Act and demanded immediate introduction of an amendment bill to strengthen the law.
He also alleged that the government had failed to bring an ordinance soon after the Supreme Court order that had introduced safeguards against immediate arrest of a person accused of committing an atrocity against SC/STs.
After the court’s decision, dalit leaders and organisations said that the Act had been diluted and rendered it toothless. Dalit groups had also given a call for a “Bharat Bandh” on August 9 over the issue.