SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Amendment in Rules 2016

By | April 16, 2016

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016 notified

Amendments done in the Principal Rules namely the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 by the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016 have been notified yesterday. 

Consequent upon amendments done in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) {PoA} Act, 1989 by the Scheduled Castes and the  Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 (No. 1 of 2016), certain amendments had been  necessitated in the subordinate legislation namely the Scheduled Castes and the  Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995, made by the Central Government in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (1) of  Section 23 of the PoA Act.

  1.  Accordingly a Task Force was constituted under Chairpersonship of the Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, vide Order dated 22.01.2106, with members drawn fromMinistries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Home Affairs, Tribal Affairs, Law and Justice, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. The Task Force having held two meetings on 02.02.2016 and 22.02.2016, finalized its report.  Based on the recommendations contained in the said Report of the Task Force and the introspection done in the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, amendments of following nature have been done in the PoA Rules:-

(i)  Amendments of consequential nature arising from amendments done in the PoA Act.

(ii) Rationalization of the phasing of payment of relief amount to victims for various offences of atrocities, and substitution of  Annexure-I of the Schedule to the PoA Rules, which specifies relief amount for various offences of atrocities. This includes prescribing relief for new offences of atrocities as well for rephrased/expanded offences and not linking payment of any part of relief amount with the requirement of medical examination for non-invasive kind of offences against women likesexual harassment, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty, assault or use of criminal force with intent to disrobe, voyeurism, stalking.

(iii) Provision of relief for offences of rape and gang rape.

(iv) Increase in the existing quantum of relief amount i.e. between Rs. 75,000/- to Rs. 7, 50,000/-, depending upon the nature of the offence, by around 10%, as rounded of i.e. between Rs. 85,000/- to Rs. 8, 25,000/-, depending upon the nature of the offence, while linking it with the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers for the month of January, 2016.

  1. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016, have been accordingly notified in the Gazette of India Extraordinary on 14th April, 2016.

The key features of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, are:

  • New offences of atrocities like tonsuring of head, moustache, or similar acts which are derogatory to the dignity of members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, garlanding with chappals, denying access to irrigation facilities or forest rights , dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or to dig graves, using or permitting manual scavenging, dedicating a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe women as devadasi, abusing in caste name, perpetrating witchcraft atrocities, imposing social or economic boycott, preventing Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates from filing of nomination to contest elections, hurting a Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes woman by removing her garments, forcing a member of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe to leave house , village or residence, defiling objects sacred to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe, touching or using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature against members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe.
  • Addition of certain IPC offences like hurt, grievous hurt, intimidation, kidnapping etc., attracting less than ten years of imprisonment, committed against members of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe, as offences punishable under the PoA Act. Presently, only those offences listed in IPC as attracting punishment of 10 years or more and committed on members of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe are accepted as offences falling under the PoA Act.
  • Establishment of Exclusive Special Courts and specification of Exclusive Special Public Prosecutors also, to exclusively try the offences under the PoA Act to enable speedy and expeditious disposal of cases.
  • Power of Special Courts and Exclusive Special Courts, to take direct cognizance of offence and as far as possible, completion of trial of the case within two months, from the date of filing of the charge sheet
  • Addition of chapter on the ‘Rights of Victims and Witnesses’.
  • Defining clearly the term ‘wilful negligence’ of public servants at all levels, starting from the registration of complaint, and covering aspects of dereliction of duty under this Act.

    •Addition of presumption to the offences –If the accused was acquainted with the victim or his family, the court will presume that the accused was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim unless proved otherwise.

Source Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, 15.04.2016

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