Parliament Passes Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Amendment Bill, 2018 (Important) (Download PDF)

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Lok Sabha has passed Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018 to reverse effects of Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrests under SC/ST law.

Image of Stringent Act

Image of Stringent Act

Image of Stringent Act

Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Thaawar Chand Gehlot.

Bill seeks to amend Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Background on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill

  • Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 protects marginalized communities against discrimination & atrocities.

  • It prohibits commission of offences against members of SCs/STs & establishes special courts for trial of such offences & rehabilitation of victims.

  • In 2018, Supreme Court had expressed concern over misuse of Act & ruled against automatic arrest of booking of accused under this law.

    • It had introduced provision of anticipatory bail.

    • It had stated that for persons accused of committing offence under Act, approval of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) will be required before arrest is made.

    • Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) may conduct preliminary enquiry to find out whether there is prima facie case under Act.

Features of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill

  • Bill states that investigating officer will not require approval of any authority for arrest of accused.

  • It provides that preliminary enquiry will not be required for registration of First Information Report (FIR) against person accused under Act.

  • Act states that persons accused of committing offence under Act cannot apply for anticipatory bail.

  • It clarifies that this provision will apply despite any judgments or orders of any court that provide otherwise, thus overturning SC judgment given in April 2018.

Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

  • It is known as Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act or simply Atrocities Act.

  • Its main objective is to deliver justice to marginalized thru proactive efforts, giving them life of dignity, self-esteem & life w/o fear, violence or suppression from dominant castes.

  • Act lists 22 offences relating to various patterns or behaviours inflicting criminal offences & breaking self-respect & esteem of SC/ST community.

  • This includes denial of economic, democratic & social rights, discrimination, exploitation & abuse of legal process.

  • Act provides protection to SC/ST community from social disabilities such as denial of access to certain places & to use customary passage, personal atrocities like forceful drinking or eating of inedible food, injury, sexual exploitation etc, atrocities affecting properties, malicious prosecution, political disabilities & economic exploitation.

  • Section 14 of Act For speedy trial provides for Court of Session to be Special Court to try offences under this Act in each district.

- Published/Last Modified on: October 7, 2018

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