Important Topic: SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989

Important Topics for Competitive Exams


Important Topic

Ministry of Social Justice is the nodal ministry to enforce the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to prevent atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

Article 17 of Indian Constitution seeks to abolish 'untouchability' and to forbid all such practices. It is basically a "statement of principle" that needs to be made operational with the ostensible objective to remove humiliation and multifaceted harassments meted to the Dalits and to ensure their fundamental and socio-economic, political, and cultural rights.

Salient Features of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989

  • Creation of new types of offences not in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or in the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 (PCRA).
  • Commission of offences only by specified persons (atrocities can be committed only by non-SCs and non-STs on members of the SC or ST communities. Crimes among SCs and STs or between STs and SCs do not come under the purview of this Act).
  • Defines various types of atrocities against SCs/STs (Section 3(1)i to xv and 3(2)i to vii).
  • Prescribes stringent punishment for such atrocities (Section 3(1)i to xv and 3(2)i to vii).
  • Enhanced punishment for some offences (Section 3(2)i to vii, 5).
  • Enhanced minimum punishment for public servants (Section 3(2)vii).
  • Punishment for neglect of duties by a public servant(Section 4).
  • Attachment and forfeiture of property (Section 7).
  • Externment of potential offenders (Section 10(1), 10(3), 10(3)).
  • Creation of Special Courts (Section 14).
  • Appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (Section 15).
  • Empowers the government to impose collective fines (Section 16).
  • Cancellation of arms licences in the areas identified where an atrocity may take place or has taken place (Rule 3iii) and seize all illegal fire arms (Rule 3iv).
  • Grant arms licences to SCs and STs (Rule 3v).
  • Denial of anticipatory bail (Section 18).
  • Denial of probation to convict (Section 19).
  • Provides compensation, relief and rehabilitation for victims of atrocities or their legal heirs (Section 17(3), 21(2)iii, Rule 11, 12(4)).
  • Identification of atrocity prone areas (Section 17(1), 21(2)vii, Rule 3(1)).
  • Setting up deterrents to avoid committing of atrocities on the SCs amongst others (Rule 3i to 3xi).
     
  • Setting up a mandatory, periodic monitoring system at different levels (Section 21(2)v):
    • District level (Rule 3xi, 4(2), 4(4), 17).
    • State level (8xi, 14, 16, 18).
    • National level (Section 21(2), 21(3), 21(4)).
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