Parliament passes SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015

Date: December 22, 2015

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Parliament has passed The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015. The Bill replaces the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014.The Bill seeks to amend the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.  The Act prohibits the commission of offences against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs) and establishes special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims. 

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Key Featutres of the Bill-

-The Bill adds new categories of actions to be treated as offences committed by non SCs and STs and amends certain existing categories. Addition of new offences: (i) Garlanding SCs and STs with footwear (ii) Compelling to do manual scavenging or dispose carry animal or human carcasses. (iii) Abusing SCs/STs in public by caste name (iv) Disrespecting any deceased SCs/STs person held in high esteem or attempting to promote feelings of ill-will against SCs/STs (iv) Threatening or imposing economic and social boycott.

-Following activities will be considered an offence: Preventing SCs/STs using common property resources, entering any places of public worship that is open to the public, and entering an education or health institution.

-The Bill adds provision specifying establishment of Exclusive Special Court and Special Court at the district level to try offences mentioned under this Act.