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Lok Sabha passes SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill

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The Lok Sabha passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill where most of the opposition parties boycotted the House, replacing the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014.

  • This bill makes a stringent action against those compelling any member of SC or ST communities to carry human or animal carcasses or do manual scavenging.
  • The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014 aims to prohibit the commission of offences against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs) and provides for establishing special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims.

Features of this Bill:

  • Under the Bill, Forcing an SC or ST individual to vote or not vote for a particular candidate in a manner that is against the law is an offence.
  • Assaulting or sexually exploiting an SC or ST woman too is an offence. The Bill adds that touching an SC or ST woman intentionally, in a sexual manner, without her consent or using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature, dedicating an SC or ST women as a devadasi to a temple, or any similar practice will also be considered an offence.
  • Preventing SCs or STs from using common property resources or from entering any place of worship that is open to the public or from entering an education or health institution will also be considered an offence.
  • Wrongfully occupying land belonging to SCs or STs is an offence.
  • Preventing SCs or STs from using common property resources or from entering any place of worship that is open to the public or from entering an education or health institution will also be considered an offence.
  • It specifies that a non-SC or non-ST public servant who neglects his duties relating to SCs or STs shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of six months to one year.
  • 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, and imposing or threatening a social or economic boycott as an offence.