In a bid to appease the upper caste in the poll-bound state, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan on Thursday declared that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act will “not be misused” and that “no one will be arrested before an investigation”.

Previously on Thursday, upper caste protesters gave a call to gherao the Chief Minister’s residence, following which Chouhan took to Twitter to announce, “MP mein nahi hoga SC-ST Act ka durupyog, bina jaanch ke nahi hogi giraftari (MP will not allow misuse of the SC/ST Act, no one will be arrested without an investigation).”

Parliament on August 9 had passed a bill to overturn the apex court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe law. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha. It had got the nod of the Lok Sabha on August 6.

The bill rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs, notwithstanding any court order. It provides that no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.

The Supreme Court had on March 20 taken note of the rampant misuse of the stringent SC/ST Act against government servants and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.

It had passed a slew of directions and said a public servant can be arrested in cases lodged under the SC/ST Act only after prior approval by the competent authority.

(With PTI inputs)