Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday hit out at the Centre for appointing Justice A.K. Goel as chairman of the National Green Tribunal, despite the fact that he had been on the Bench that delivered the verdict “diluting” the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

He said the appointment signalled the BJP’s symbolic support for the judgment and appeared to be a reward for it.

Earlier, K. Suresh of the Congress had also accused the government of rewarding the judge, claiming he was close to a right-wing organisation. Mr. Suresh said that even Dalit MPs from the BJP and NDA ally Ram Vilas Paswan had protested the “dilution” of the Act. Mr. Paswan, who was sitting in the House, did not comment.

BJP’s chief whip Anurag Thakur was seen protesting the remarks.

Mr. Kharge also criticised the UGC’s move to tweak the reservation roster to fill seats taking the department rather than the institution, as a whole, as the unit, replacing the earlier practice.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the Centre had already moved a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to go back to the old roster system for filling SC, ST and OBC vacancies. As for the SC/ST Act, he said that the Prime Minister had said that nothing would be changed in the law, not even a comma or a full stop.

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