Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989The preamble of the Act also states that the Act is “to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against the members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, to provide for Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of such offenses and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” The objectives of the Act, therefore, very clearly emphasise the intention of the Indian state to deliver justice to SC/ST communities through affirmative action in order to enable them to live in society with dignity and self-esteem and without fear, violence or suppression from the dominant castes Article 17 of Indian Constitution seeks to abolish 'untouchability' and its practice in any form is forbidden. It is basically a "statement of principle" that needs to be made operational with the ostensible objective to remove humiliation and multifaceted harassments meted to the Dalits and to ensure their fundamental and socio-economic, political, and cultural rights. In 1989, the Government of India passed the Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA), which defines specific crimes against Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) as "atrocities," and discuses strategies and sets down punishments to counter these acts. Though the acts is not specific to children or does not have specific provisions for crimes against children, it does apply to all crimes committed against SC or ST children. Following is an overview of the act. The act lists a description of all acts that are considered to be atrocities under this law. Some of these provisions are punishable up to five years and a fine such as forcing a SC or ST to eat or drink non-edible or obnoxious substances, forcibly parading a SC or ST person naked or any other act which is derogatory to human dignity, the use of or transfer of allotted land belonging to and SC or ST member, etc. Other atrocities have different punishments such as a person who gives false evidence against a SC/ST member in a court case will be punished with life imprisonment and a fine, arson of a SC/ST property is punishable up to seven years and a fine, any crime listed in the penal code that describes a punishment of ten year imprisonment or more and is committed against a SC/ST member or to his/her property is sentences to life imprisonment and fine under this act, etc. The act attempts to protect SC/ST people from systematic discrimination by punishing public servants for neglecting their duties. The state government is given powers to decide the procedures for arrest, investigation and prosecution of persons before any Special Court. To prevent atrocities, the court may order the removal or ban of a person who is likely to commit an offence from a scheduled area or tribal land. If the person fails to move or returns after removal that person can be arrested and forcibly removed from the area. Also persons who have committed offences must submit to measurements and a photograph so as to keep track of all persons who have committed an offence under this act. In order or prosecute people under this act the state government is required to convert a session court in each district to a special court to try offences under this act. As in the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 the state can impose a Appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (Section 15). Adults who have committed crimes according to this act are not permitted to be released on probation of good conduct or after reprimand. Creation of new types of offences not in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or in the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 (PCRA). provide travelling and maintenance expenses of witnesses and victims. 2. Empowers the government to impose collective fines (Section 16). Enhanced minimum punishment for public servants (Section 3(2)vii). The second category contains provisions for relief and compensation for victims of atrocities. Crimes among SCs and STs or between STs and SCs do not come under the purview of this Act). Creation of Special Courts (Section 14). 11. covering a variety of issues related to atrocities against SC/ST people and their position in society. 7. the government is required to provide legal aid. The third category contains provisions that establish special authorities for the implementation and monitoring of the Act.collective fine on people of an area. 4. 9. 12. Externment of potential offenders (Section 10(1). 8. Punishment for neglect of duties by a public servant(Section 4). Defines various types of atrocities against SCs/STs (Section 3(1)i to xv and 3(2)i to vii). 3. Denial of probation to convict (Section 19). 6. 16. 14. The law outlines that it is the duty of the local government and law enforcement officers to carry out measures to prevent atrocities against SC/ST people. It establishes criminal liability for a number of specifically defined atrocities. The first category contains provisions of criminal law. Cancellation of arms licences in the areas identified where an atrocity may take place or has taken place (Rule 3iii) and seize all illegal fire arms (Rule 3iv). Attachment and forfeiture of property (Section 7). In order to ensure the full implementation of this act. 10. 5. Under this act people are not permitted to appeal to the court for bail. monitoring and evaluate the work under this act. 13. Commission of offences only by specified persons (atrocities can be committed only by non-SCs and non-STs on members of the SC or ST communities. social and economic rehabilitation for victims. 15. setting up committees to carry out implementation measures. The salient features of the Act are 1. and extends the scope of certain categories of penalizations given in the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Denial of anticipatory bail (Section 18). Enhanced punishment for some offences (Section 3(2)i to vii. 10(3)). and identify high risk areas. salient features The provisions of SC/ST Act and Rules can be divided into three different categories. 5). Prescribes stringent punishment for such atrocities (Section 3(1)i to xv and 3(2)i to vii). 10(3). . Grant arms licences to SCs and STs (Rule 3v). The Act lists 22 offences relating to various patterns of behaviours inflicting criminal offences for shattering the self-respect and esteem of SCs and STs. It contains: 19 offences in their own right (Section 3(1) contains 15 subsections with an equal number of offences. periodic monitoring system at different levels (Section 21(2)v): District level (Rule 3xi. Caste consideration as a motive is not necessary to make such an offence in case of atrocity”. 21(2)iii. In legal parlance. Atrocity is “an expression commonly used to refer to crimes against Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in India”. The derived offences are based on the offences given in the SC/ST Act. whereas the term 'crime' relates to an act punishable by law”. 17). democratic and social rights. Section 3(2) contains four subsections with offences) two derived offences (sections 3(2)(vi) and 3(2)(vii)). discrimination. 4. even though caste considerations may not be the vivid and minimum motive for the crime”. 21(2)vii. Identification of atrocity prone areas (Section 17(1). 19. 18). State level (8xi. Section 3 of the Act lists the criminal offences and the punishments. 4(2). or against STs by non-ST persons. 16. 3.17. In specific terms: 1. Provides compensation. exploitation and abuse of the legal process. It signifies “crimes which have ingredients of infliction of suffering in one form or the other that should be included for reporting”. Rule 3(1)). It “denotes the quality of being shockingly cruel and inhumane. denial of economic. 18. National level (Section 21(2). Defining 'atrocity' The term 'atrocity' was not defined until this Act was passed by the Parliament in 1989. relief and rehabilitation for victims of atrocities or their legal heirs (Section 17(3). 14. 4(4). Setting up a mandatory. This is based on the assumption that “where the victims of crime are members of Scheduled Castes and the offenders do not belong to Scheduled Castes caste considerations are really the root cause of the crime. They only come in the picture provided that another offence under the SC/ST Act has been committed. 2. etc. 12(4)). one subsection that increases the punishment for certain offences under the IPC (Section 3(2)(v)). 20. Setting up deterrents to avoid committing of atrocities on the SCs amongst others (Rule 3i to 3xi). the Act understands the term to mean an offence punishable under sections 3(1) and 3(2). It implies “any offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) committed against SCs by non-SC persons. 21(4)). 21(3). . Rule 11. existing properties). outrage of modesty.These protections can be broadly divided into protection from social disabilities (denial of access to certain places and to use customary passage and to get water from any spring. The common denominator of the offences is that criminal liability can only be established if the offence is committed by a person who is not a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe against a person who belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe. malicious prosecution. residential premises. political disabilities. sexual exploitation. atrocities affecting properties (land. reservoir or any other source). personal atrocities (forceful drinking or eating of inedible or obnoxious substance. injury or annoyance). economic exploitation. against stripping. .