no-meetings-of-sc-st-committees-in-last-3-years

Context:

The State-level committees and District committees meant to monitor the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 of have not met even once in three years — 2016, 2017 and 2018 in numerous states.

About the Committees:

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes:(Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 formed under the act mandates setting up of such committees.

  • State-level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee -
    • State Government shall constitute it subject to Maximum 25 Members.
    • Chairman - Chief Minister
    • Members - Home Minister, Finance Minister, Chief Secretary, All Elected members of Parliament and  State Legislative Assembly from the state belonging to SC and ST etc.
    • Convener - the Secretary in-charge of the welfare and development of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes
    • It shall meet at least twice in a calendar year, in the month of January and July to review the implementation of the provisions of the Act, relief and rehabilitation facilities provided to the victims and other matters connected therewith etc..
  • District Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee
    • In each district within the State, the District Magistrate shall set up a vigilance and monitoring committee in his district to review the implementation of the provisions of the Act, relief and rehabilitation facilities provided to the victims and other matters connected therewith.
    • Chairman - District Magistrate
    • Secretary - District Social Welfare Officer
    • Members - Elected Members of the Parliament and State Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, Superintendent of Police, Gazetted Officers of the State Government belonging to the SC and ST etc.
    • It shall meet at least once in three months.

 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989:

  • It has been enacted to prevent crimes against members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and to provide for relief and rehabilitation of victims of such offences.
  • A person who is not a member of a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe and commits an offence listed in the Act against a member of a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe is an offender.
  • The offences listed under the Act are:

✓ Forced to eat or drink an offensive or uneatable substance;

✓ Caused annoyance, injury or insult by an excreta or waste matter being dumped in his premises or

neighbourhood;

✓ Paraded naked or with painted face or body;

✓ Wrongfully deprived of cultivation of his land etc.

  • All the offences under the Act are cognizable and the police can arrest the offender without warrant and start investigation without taking orders from the court.
  • The minimum punishment in most cases is six months imprisonment while the maximum is five years with fine. In some cases, the minimum may be enhanced to one year while maximum may be extended up to life imprisonment or even death sentence.
  • If any public servant, not being a member of the scheduled caste or scheduled tribe deliberately neglects his duties which he has to perform under the Act, he is liable for punishment with imprisonment up to six months.
  • The provision for anticipatory bail is not available to the offender under the Act.
  • There is a provision of the constitution of special courts for hearing cases on atrocities against scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-meetings-of-sc-st-committees-held-in-25-states-in-3-years/article31092984.ece

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