Social justice ministry reviews implementation of amended SC/ST Act

NEW DELHI: Against the backdrop of the suicide by Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, the Centre on Wednesday reviewed the implementation of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot chaired a meeting to deliberate on the ways to ensure proper implementation of the Act.

The Ministry was in the process of framing rules for the implementation of the Act which came into force from January 26, Gehlot said.

“Despite the deterrent provisions made in the PoA Act, continuing atrocities against the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had been a cause of concern. Also there is a rise in such cases. There were several crimes which did not fit into the provisions of the earlier Act following which we amended the Act to deliver greater justice to the people belonging to such sections,” said Gehlot.

“We are in the process of framing rules for the implementation of the Act. The objective of the meeting is to take suggestions from the states regarding the same and seek details of action taken against cases of crime against the SC and ST members. The aim is to ensure the Act was being implemented in true letter and spirit,” he added.

The amended Act has cast a greater responsibility on the concerned state governments and Union Territory administrations to augment the infrastructure and human resources for its implementation.

As such the Committee is likely to deliberate on steps to be taken by the concerned states and UTs to effectively implement provisions in the amended law.

The new law provides for stringent action against those compelling any member of SC or ST communities to carry human or animal carcasses or do manual scavenging.

As per the law, acts like tonsuring of head, moustache, or similar acts which are derogatory to the dignity of members of SCs and STs, garlanding with chappals, denying access to irrigation facilities or forest rights, forcing them to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or to dig graves, manual scavenging, dedicating SC or ST women as devadasi, abusing their caste name will be treated as offences of atrocities.

Other new offences include imposing social or economic boycott, hurting a SC or ST woman by removing her garments, forcing a member of SC/ST to leave house, village or residence, acts or gestures of a sexual nature against members of SCs and STs etc.

Posted by on February 17, 2016. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.