Stricter laws to protect SC/STs on the anvil

Stricter laws to protect SC/STs on the anvil

UP has recorded highest number of such crimes

The Centre will amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989  to make it more stringent.

The matter is being pursued  on a fast-track basis and will  be completed after opinions from states are taken into consideration. According to the ministry of social justice and empowerment, all but six states have already given their responses.  

The statistics presented before Parliament last week presents a grim scenario. The number of incidents of atrocities shows a marginal increase from 1,24,538 in 2009 to 1,26,593 in 2010. In 2010, about 100098 cases were pending in courts for disposal.

Though, Uttar Pradesh showed a decline in the number of atrocities against people of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST), it topped the list of   ‘high incidence’ states with  27,527 number of such crimes in 2010. (In 2009, the number  was 29,751).  In the year, Madhya Pradesh came second with 18,160 and in 2009, the number was 17507.

Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar,  Orissa,  Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra  and Karnataka are among the states where high number of such incidents have happened. West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Goa  have  very low number of such crimes.   North eastern states like Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram  apparently do not show such cases.  

The Centre has been issuing regular advisory to the state governments, asking them to take required steps to bring the culprits to justice. They have been advised to ensure speedy disposal of pending cases.

Rajya Sabha member and former Planning Commission member Bhalchandra Mungekar has raised the issue of low conviction rate and steps being taken to improve the situation.

Pleading for an amendment in the Act to introduce stricter clauses, CPI leader D Raja also has said: “As per the Act, District Collectors are expected to monitor the registration, prosecution and conviction of cases every month, and the chief ministers are expected to review the situation every six months. These are not being done systematically.”  

Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik says  that the notification for the proposed amendments has been sent to states, and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

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