NEW DELHI: With barely three days left in the Winter Session, the Rajya Sabha on Monday unanimously passed the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill with two bills on supplementary demands for 2015-16, within minutes without any debate.
The House returned the Appropriation (No 4) Bill and the Appropriation (No 5) Bill containing the second batch of supplementary demands as part of grants for 2015-16 to meet the government’s expenditure to the Lok Sabha. Raising concerns over the way all three bills were passed without any debate or discussion, some members said it should not become a ‘precedent’.
As the House reassembled at 2 PM after four adjournments, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien took up the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015. This was passed unanimously through a voice vote without discussion. Congress leader Hussain Dalwai did not move his motion for certain amendments after his party asked him not to do so. Subsequently, two Appropriations Bill were also passed in a similar manner.
The crucial SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) amendment Bill provides for stringent action against those involved in crimes against scheduled castes and tribes, wrongfully occupying their land or dedicating SC/ST women as devadasis. It provides for the establishing of special courts to try such offences along with rehabilitation of victims and is aimed at prohibiting crimes against members of these communities.
What the crucial law offers
- Stringent action against those wrongfully occupying land of SC/STs
- Action against anyone ‘dedicating’ SC/ST women as Devadasis
- Establishing of special courts to try offences under this law
- Makes it an offence to garland with footwear, compel to handle animal or human carcasses, abuse SC/STs by caste name in public
- Makes it an offence to impose or threaten to impose a social or economic boycott on SC/STs
Assaulting or sexually exploiting an SC or ST woman is an offence under the bill. Wrongfully occupying land belonging to SCs or STs is an offence under the bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha in August. It also declares as an offence garlanding with footwear, compelling to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or do manual scavenging, abusing SCs or STs by caste name in public, attempting to promote feelings of ill-will against SCs or STs or disrespecting any deceased person held in high esteem by these communities and imposing or threatening a social or economic boycott.