Committee Meets to Curb Offences of Untouchability

  • This is the 27th meeting of the Committee.
  • Happened at Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
  • Under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of the SC/ST Development/Welfare Department and the Home Department of all the States/UTs attended.

Key Reviews:

  • Charge sheet filing rate in the court.
  • Pendency of cases in courts.
  • Setting up of exclusive special courts.
  • Meeting of Vigilance & Monitoring Committees.
  • action plan to do away with shortcomings in
  • Implementation of the PCR and PoA Acts.

About the Committee:

  • Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment is the de-facto chairman.
  • It has members from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Tribal Affairs, Law and Justice, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
  • It also consists of three non-official members.
  • Two SC, one ST.
  • It was set up in 2006 on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Its objective is to devise ways and means to curb offences of atrocities and ensure effective administration of the Protection of Civil Rights{PCR} Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities){PoA} Act, 1989.

SC/ST (PoA) Act, 1989:

  • Amendments to SC/ST (PoA) Act, 1989.

2006:

  • Addition of new offences.
  • Establishment of exclusive special courts.
  • Specification of exclusive special public prosecutors to try the offences under the Act to enable expeditious disposal of cases.
  • Power of special courts and exclusive special courts to take direct cognizance of offence.
  • A new chapter on the ‘Rights of Victims and Witnesses’.

2018:

  • It is no longer required to conduct a preliminary enquiry before registration of a First Information Report (FIR).
  • And seeking approval of any authority before the arrest of an accused.

SC/ST (PoA) Rules, 1995:

  • Amendments have been made to SC/ST (PoA) Rules, 1995.
  • Relief amount for 47 offences of atrocities from earlier 22 offences.
  • Enhancement of relief amount between Rs. 85,000/- and Rs. 8, 25,000/- depending upon the nature of the offence.
  • Providing of first instalment of relief within seven days.
  • Completion of investigation and filing of charge sheet within sixty days to enable timely commencement of prosecution.
  • Providing relief in case of death, injury, rape, gang rape, unnatural offences, grievous hurt by throwing acid etc., property damage, in addition to any other right to claim compensation in respect thereof under any other law.
Posted in Current Affairs.