Amendments toSC/ST Act sought

Henry Tiphagne, Executive Director of People's Watch, addressing a workshop in the city on Saturday. Photo: S. James  

Dalit and Human Rights groups came together to urge the Centre to make amendments to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 in accordance with the ordinance passed during the UPA-II regime.

Speaking at a workshop on the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Ordinance 2014, Henry Tiphagne, Executive Director of People’s Watch, said that the amendments sought to strengthen certain existing provisions as also to add over 160 new offences so far not part of the 1989 law.

Lauding the efforts of the civil society organisations, he said, “The struggle of hundreds of activists across the country seems to have paid off. Now, our job is to make sure the bill gets through both the Houses of Parliament. If the existing SC/ST Act gets amended, then it will mark the inception for a change in the criminal law, he added.

Stressing the need for popularising the amendments, M. Britto, Director, Vanamuhil, said, “The Dalits, who are mostly the victims, faced challenges at almost every stage of its execution of the Act. Hence, it is the need of the hour to have a grasp of the various provisions and amendments of the ordinance passed.

While thanking the Central government for bringing out the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance 2014, members of the civil society organisations called for the effective implementation of the amended provisions in the State to protect the rights of the dalits.

“Of the total 7.5 lakh cases that get registered every year in Tamil Nadu, only around 1,500 cases have been booked under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989,” observed A. Kathir, Executive Director, Evidence.

Many cases registered under the Act had not ended in conviction while attempts were made to dilute its provisions further by police, he added.

Mr. Kathir appealed to the State government to convene the State-level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee meeting once in six months.

The act that provided security against evils of untouchability to the people of the oppressed groups should not be allowed to remain on paper alone, the members felt.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 9:41:42 AM |

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