New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to stay its ruling, which activists say has diluted a law aimed at preventing atrocities on Dalits and tribes, as it asserted that it wanted to protect innocent people from being punished.
A bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, however, said compensation can be paid to victims alleged atrocities under The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, even without a FIR being registered.
Refusing to budge on its five directions issued on March 20, the court said: "We are not against the law or its implementation" and the directions in no way diluted the law but were aimed to protect the innocent people from being punished. It describe its direction for preliminary inquiry before an FIR is registered on a complaint as "filter".
"People who are agitating have not read the order. There is a lot of hearsay," observed Justice Goel.
"We are only concerned about innocent people being put behind bars. We are not against the Act at all. But innocents can't be punished on unilateral version. Why does government want people to be arrested without verification.?"
As Venugopal argued why SC/ST people will implicate anyone, the bench said: "Our approach is to protect innocent people. If there is an unverifiable allegation against an official, how will he function, how AG will function."
There is abuse of law not just by the SC/ST members, but by police, someone else or by some vested interest or purpose, said amicus curiae Amarendra Sharan.
Wondering at the arguments of the Central government for seeking review of March 20 judgment, he said that judgment was founded on the statistics of misuse and abuse of law furnished by the government during the course of the hearing.
He said that the March 20 directions in no way diluted, took away or struck down the provisions of SC/ST act and the sole motivating factor is protection of innocent.
Describing Article 14 (Equality before law) and Article 21 as core of the Constitution, Sharan said that "protection of a person under Article 21 is paramount".
Having clarified that non-registration of FIR would not come in the way of grant of compensation and its direction of PE in no way comes in the way of registering cases under penal offences and other statues, the court gave two days to different parties to the case to file written submissions and three days to file rejoinders as it directed the next hearing after two weeks.
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Lucknow: An FIR has been lodged here against the makers of web series 'Tandav' and Amazon's India head of original content for allegedly depicting Hindu gods in a manner hurtful to religious sentiments of the people.
The FIR against Aparna Purohit, the head of Amazon's India head of original content, director of the series Ali Abbas, producer Himanshu Krishna Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, and an unknown person was lodged late on Sunday night by senior Sub Inspector Amar Nath Yadav at the Hazratganj Kotwali police station here.
The film starring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Gauhar Khan and Kritika Kamra, premiered on the streaming platform on Friday.
According to the FIR, following public outrage expressed on social media platforms, the web series was viewed and it was found in the 17th minute of the first episode of the series that Hindu gods and goddesses have been presented in an "undignified manner' and shown using language which is hurtful to religious sentiments.
Dialogues in the web series can incite caste anger, the FIR alleged.
It also alleged that the person occupying the high post of Prime Minister of India has been portrayed in a very belittling manner besides there are scenes in which castes have been presented as low and high and women in an insulting manner.
The FIR further alleged that intent of the web series is to incite religious sentiments of a particular community and create enmity among classes.This act of the producer-director has hurt and incited religious and caste sentiments of the people, the FIR added.
Taking cognizance of complaints that Hindu gods and goddesses have been ridiculed in the web series, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had on Sunday sought an explanation from streaming platform Amazon Prime Video on the issue, sources had said.
The development came after BJP MP Manoj Kotak on Sunday said he has written to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar seeking a ban on Amazon Prime Video's series 'Tandav' for ridiculing Hindu deities.
"The ministry has taken cognizance of the matter (complaints) and asked Amazon Prime Video to explain," a source in the ministry had said.
Kotak, the MP from Mumbai North-East, said different organisations and individuals have complained that Hindu gods and goddesses have been ridiculed in the 'Tandav' web series.
When contacted about the complaints, Amazon Prime Video PR had said the platform "won't be responding" on the matter.
The government recently brought OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar, besides other online news and current affairs content, under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, giving it powers to regulate policies and rules for the digital space.