SC issues notice to centre on death penalty in SC/ST cases

NEW DELHI, MAY 10 (IANS) | Publish Date: 5/10/2019 12:30:01 PM IST

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre on a plea challenging the validity of a section which prescribes for mandatory death sentence in a case where an innocent member of a Scheduled Caste (SC) or a Scheduled Tribe (ST) is convicted and is executed as a consequence of false and fabricated evidence given by the accused.

The action of a bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde came on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the mandatory death penalty under section 3(2)(i) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The plea was filed by advocate Rishi Malhotra.

The advocate told the court that the provision is “manifestly arbitrary, disproportionate, excessive, unreasonable, unjust, unfair, harsh, unusual and cruel”.

Under Section 3(2)(i) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, whoever, not being a member of SC/ST, gives or fabricates false evidence intending thereby to cause any member of SC/ST to be convicted of an offence which is capital by the law for the time being in force shall be punished with imprisonment for life, and with fine, and if an innocent member of SC/ST is convicted and executed in consequence of such false or fabricated evidence, the person who gives or fabricates such false evidence, shall be punished with death.

The petitioner requested the court to strike down the provision with regard to mandatory death penalty as prescribed under Section 3(2)(i) of The Scheduled Castes & The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.

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