Amendments to SC/ST Act now in force

Amendments to SC/ST Act now in force

The Centre has decided to enforce the amended law for prevention of atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes from January 26, 2016.

The law, apparently, has come into operation in the wake of political uproar over the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad.

It has such stringent provisions that ensure punishments even for gestures meant to hurt someone from the communities. Touching or using words and acts or gestures of a sexual nature have been made punishable.

Acts like tonsuring of head or moustache and garlanding with chappals and abusing in caste name are now punishable.  Those offences like hurt, grievous hurt, intimidation and kidnapping etc that attract less than ten years of imprisonment under Indian Panel Code, if committed against members of SC and ST would be punishable under this law. Presently, only offences attracting punishment of 10 years are accepted under the Act.

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 was passed by Parliament in December 2015.