Delivering the verdict, a bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Ravindra directed that provisions related to anticipatory bail to be exercised sparingly and in exceptional cases where no prima facie case is made out.

Justice Ravindra Bhat, the other member of the bench, said in a concurring verdict that every citizen needs to treat fellow citizens equally and foster the concept of fraternity.

Justice Bhat said a court can quash the FIR if a prima facie case is not made out under the SC/ST Act and the liberal use of anticipatory bail will defeat the intention of Parliament.Soon after the verdict, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the BJP and RSS were trying to remove reservation in the country. “In DNA of RSS and BJP to try and erase reservation…We’ll never allow reservations to be done away with no matter how much (Narendra) Modi Ji or Mohan Bhagwat dream of it,” he said.

In October last year, the top court had said that it will not “dilute” the provisions of the SC/ST Act, 1989 and made it clear that its Constitution bench had already held that anticipatory bail could be granted in such matter if the courts feel that no prima facie case is made out.

The apex court had then reserved its verdict on the petitions challenging the validity of 2018 amendments to The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 that had nullified the directions in its verdict last year on March 20, diluting the provisions of arrest under the law.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that the top court had on October 1 recalled the two directions passed last year by its two-judge bench and restored the earlier position of the law.

The apex court had in January last year refused to stay the 2018 amendments to the SC/ST Act, which restored the provision that no anticipatory bail be granted to the accused in offence lodged under this law.

In its 2018 verdict, the apex court had taken note of the rampant misuse of the stringent SC/ST Act against government servants and private individuals and said that there would be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.

Violent protests had taken place across the country after the apex court’s verdict in which several persons lost their lives and many were injured.

Parliament on August 9 last year had passed the bill to overturn the apex court March 20, 2018 judgement concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the SC/ST law.

Later, the Centre had filed a petition in the top court seeking review of its March last year judgement.

The pleas filed in the top court have sought to declare the 2018 amendments to the Act as ultra vires.

The pleas have claimed that Parliament had “arbitrarily” decided to amend the law and restored the previous provisions in such a manner so that an innocent cannot avail the right of anticipatory bail.

The 2018 amendments rule out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs, notwithstanding any court order.

They provide that no preliminary inquiry would be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.