Skip to main content

Election Commission asks Gujarat govt to immediately Implement new SC-ST anti-atrocities ordinance

By Our Representative
The Election Commission of India has asked the Gujarat government to immediately start implementing the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014. The ordinance was promulgated on March 4, 2014, and the Gujarat government was refusing to take any action for implementing it, say Dalit activists. This forced Kirit Rathod, senior activist, Navsarjan Trust, to write a letter to the Gujarat governor to ensure that the ordinance was put into action without any delay.
On receiving a direction from the governor, the Election Commission of India asked home and law departments of the Gujarat government to start the procedure of implementing the audience, “as required by law.” The commission’s order acquires significance because the ordinance, widely interpreted as an effort by the UPA government to “woo” SCs and STs ahead of elections, making penal provisions more stringent to deter people committing crimes against members of these communities.
The implementation of the ordinance, according to the activist, is significant, because for the first time it seeks criminal proceedings against those who try to intimidate members of SC or ST during elections. “The ordinance must be implemented during the Lok Sabha polls if they are to be fair and free”, Rathod told Counterview.
Thus, the ordinance seeks to “prevent” or “intimidate” members of SC or ST “not to vote or vote for a particular candidate in a manner than that provided under the law”; or “not to file a nomination as a candidate or to withdraw such nomination”; or “not to propose or second a nomination or a SC or a ST candidate in any election”; or “after the polls causes hurt or grievous injury to impose social or economic boycott upon a member of a SC or a ST or prevents availing benefits of any public service which is due to him.”
This apart, the ordinance imposes more stringent provisions on those perpetrating atrocities than has been the case. Till now, most of the crimes invited punishment of less than 10 years, but with amendments crimes like these will invite punishment for more than 10 years. The amendments to Section 3 also define new crimes and add some to the list. Obstructing use of common property, allegations of witchcraft, preventing entry in place of worship, social and economic boycott and promoting enmity are some of the changes which have been added to the list. These crimes will now be considered as cruelty against SC and STs.
The ordinance was brought in following demands that penal provisions be given more teeth and the ambit of crimes against SCs and STs be broadened to prevent atrocities in any form. The measure also establishes special courts for the trial of such offenses and the rehabilitation of victims. The ordinance adds a chapter on the rights of victims and witness, making it obligatory for the state to make arrangements for the protection of victims, their dependents and witnesses. It requires state governments to make schemes to ensure the implementation of rights of victims and witnesses.
The ordinance adds, several new offences to the list of19 punishable offences. These include tonsuring of head, moustache, or similar acts which are derogatory to the dignity of Dalits and Adivasis; garlanding with chappals; denying access to irrigation facilities or forest rights ; dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or to dig graves; using or permitting manual scavenging; dedicating Dalit women as devadasi; abusing in caste name; perpetrating witchcraft atrocities; imposing social or economic boycott; and so on.
It also lists hurting the modesty of Dalit/Adivasi woman by removing her garments; forcing to leave house , village or residence; defiling objects sacred to SCs and STs; and touching a women or uses words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature against women. Till now a number of commonly committed offences (hurt, grievous hurt, intimidation, kidnapping etc.) were excluded from the Act. “This provided loopholes for the perpetrators of crime to escape from being punished for these commonly committed crimes”, protagonists of the ordinance say.

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.