Bill in LS to Strengthen Law to Stop Atrocities Against SC, ST

The bill was introduced in LS which makes wilful neglect of duties by public servants in issues relating to atrocities against SC, ST a punishable offence

Published: 16th July 2014 07:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th July 2014 07:03 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: With a view to strengthening the law to prevent atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, a bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha Wednesday, which makes wilful neglect of duties by public servants in issues relating to atrocities a punishable offence.

The bill also makes provisions for state governments to establish Exclusive Special Court to try offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, was introduced by Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot.

The bill states that if a public servant, who is not a member of a SC or ST, wilfully neglects his duties required to be performed by him under this Act, he or she shall be punished with imprisonment for a term from six months to one year.

The duties of the public servant includes registering a complaint or a First Information Report under this Act and other relevant provisions and record the statement of the victims or witnesses.

According to the statement of objects and reasons, the implementation of the Act suffers due to procedural hurdles such as non-registration of cases, procedural delays in investigation, arrest and filing of charge-sheets.

As per the bill, state governments, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of High Court, shall establish Exclusive Special Court for one or more districts to try offences under the Act.

A similar bill containing the above amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the winter session of Parliament in 2013. However, the bill was not taken up for consideration and passing.

Keeping in view of urgency in the matter, the President had promulgated Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014 on March 4.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014,is proposed to replace the ordinance.

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