States can relax rules under law meant for SCs and STs

New Delhi, April 20
States can relax rules framed by the Centre under the special law meant to protect Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday, upholding a Bihar government notification authorising officers of the rank of police inspector, sub-inspector of police and assistant sub-inspector of police to investigate cases under the SC/ST Act.
A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar did not  find the notification inconsistent to the central government rules that empowers only a deputy superintendent of police-rank officer to probe such cases. It said the law conferred upon the state the power to further delegate the authority to arrest, investigate and prosecute cases.
The top court’s order came on the Bihar government’s petition challenging the Patna high court order that did not find any infirmity with the notification, but had declared those probes vitiated that were taken over by the junior rank officers before the notification was enforced.
The HC had said the consequential prosecutions conducted in furtherance of such investigative processes would be a nullity. The accused too had assailed the order before the top court since it did not agree with his contention claiming the executive order was inconsistent with the rules Centre framed under the law.

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