New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay an amendment to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, to overturn an earlier order concerning certain provisions about arrests under the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) law.

The court said that the plea would be heard along with the Centre's review plea challenging the 20 March ruling that prevented automatic arrests on complaints filed under the SC/ST Act.

The Centre had moved the apex court on 2 April seeking that the matter be addressed by the court in an open hearing, saying, “The judgment dated 20 March has widespread ramifications and implications resulting in dilution of the stringent provisions of the law enacted under the 1989 enactment."

The ruling triggered protests by Dalit groups across the country, with Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh coming under a Bharat bandh after the verdict.

The Centre, in its plea, had said the order “adversely affects a substantial portion of the population of India being SC/ST members". It was also “contrary to the legislative policy of the Parliament" as reflected in the Act, it said.

It is also the Centre’s stand that any dilution of the provisions of the amended SC/ST Act would result in depriving the community of their constitutional rights.

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