Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
All insults not offence to dalits or tribal communities under SC/ST Act’
The issue in news
In a judgement, the Supreme Court has said that all insults or intimidations to persons belonging to Dalit or tribal communities will not be an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
- A three-judge bench said that an offence is made out under the statute only if “such insult or intimidation is on account of the victim belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe”.
- “Offence under the Act is not established merely on the fact that the informant [complainant] is a member of Scheduled Caste unless there is an intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste,” the court said.
- The court said that in order to be considered an offence, the insult should be specifically intended to humiliate the victim for his caste.
- The court said that the object of the Act is to punish violators who inflict indignities, humiliations and harassment.
- The Act is intended at punishing the acts of the upper caste against the vulnerable section of society for the reason that they belong to a particular community.
Key Features of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 or SC ST Act 2015:
The SC ST Act 2015 or what we can call as PoA act 2015 has brought a few definitions or new features into the act that made clear judgments on what can be an offence under it. The act is taken as a safeguard to people or group of people belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.
The act has defined offences of atrocities which can put a person behind bars. These are related to:
- Physical Atrocity – Tonsuring of head, moustache,
- Verbal Atrocity – Acts that are derogatory to the dignity of members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
- Atrocity related to insults – Garlanding with chappals (slippers)
- Social Atrocity – Denying access to irrigation facilities or forest rights ,
- Dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or to dig graves,
- Using or permitting manual scavenging,
- Devadasi – Dedicating a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe women as devadasi,
- Atrocity related to castes – Abusing in caste name,
- Atrocities against women – Perpetrating witchcraft atrocities,
- Social & Economic Atrocity against SC & ST – Imposing social or economic boycott,
- Atrocity in Politics – Preventing Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates from filing of nomination to contest elections,
- Hurting a Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes woman by removing her garments,
- Forcing a member of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe to leave house , village or residence,
- Atrocities based on religious beliefs – Defiling objects sacred to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe,
- Touching or using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature against members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe.
The offences like hurt, grievous hurt, intimidation, kidnapping etc. against a person or persons belonging to SC/ST can attract imprisonment of 10 years or less under Prevention of Atrocities Act (PoA Act.) However, only those offences are taken under PoA act, which are already inscribed in Indian Penal Code (IPC) act.
The other important features of SC ST Act 2015 are:
- Exclusive Special Courts are established
- Exclusive Special Public Prosecutors are specified who will run the trial of offences committed under PoA act
- The Exclusive Special Public Prosecutors are introduced to enable speedy and expeditious disposal of cases
- Special Courts and Exclusive Special Courts are given power to take direct cognizance of offences and so are they required to complete the trial of the cases within two months (where ever possible) from the date of charge-sheet filing,
- A chapter named ‘Rights of Victims & Witnesses’ has been added under the PoA Act
- The term ‘Wilful Negligence’ of public servants at all levels has been defined under the act.
- Starting from the registration of complaint under PoA Act, and covering aspects of dereliction of duty under this Act are defined under wilful negligence
- The court has been given freedom to presume the offence if the accused was acquainted with the victim or his family. That means, the court will presume that the accused was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim unless proved otherwise.
- All sectors looking up, says PM
The issue in news
At the Virtual Global Investor Roundtable, inviting the global money managers looking for returns with reliability to invest in India, the Prime Minister said that the country’s economy has been stable and all sectors are now looking up.
- Several legislative changes have been brought about in areas such as agriculture, labour, education, manufacturing.
- The government is finalising a pioneering multi-modal connectivity infrastructure masterplan under the National Infrastructure Pipeline.
- It includes huge investments in the critical infrastructure sector with a focus on time-bound implementation and quality of the infrastructure. It envisages investments of $1.5 trillion.
- This would make India an attractive investment destination.
- India’s Atma Nirbhar Abhiyaan is also a well-planned economic strategy.
- The PM concluded by saying “India’s growth has the potential to catalyse global economic resurgence. Any achievements by India will have a multiplier effect on the world’s development and welfare”.
Virtual Global Investor Roundtable.
- It is an exclusive dialogue between leading global institutional investors, Indian business leaders and the highest decision-makers from the Government of India and financial market regulators.
- VGIR 2020 will focus on discussions around India’s economic and investment outlook, structural reforms and the government’s vision for the path to a USD 5 trillion economy.
- The event will provide an opportunity to leading global investors and Indian business leaders to engage and deliberate with senior policymakers on how to further accelerate the growth of international investments in India.
- GST Shortfall
The issue in news
Rajasthan decides to go for Option-1 to meet the GST implementation shortfall.
- Rajasthan has opted for the first option offered by the Union Ministry of Finance in August 2020 to meet the shortfall in revenue arising out of GST implementation.
- Now, a total of 22 states and 3 UTs have opted for Option 1.
- The States who choose Option-1 receive the amount of shortfall arising out of GST implementation through a special borrowing window put in place by the Government of India.
- The window has been operationalised now and the Government of India already borrowed an amount of Rs.12,000 crores on behalf of the States in two instalments, that have been passed on to the states and UTs that opted for it.
- States that have opted for Option 1 are: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
- UTs that have opted for Option 1 are: Jammu & Kashmir, Puducherry and Delhi.