Why in News?
Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment said that the ministry is considering the recommendation to include the communities under the Atrocities Act.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
Entire communities were branded as criminals under the colonial rule through enforcement of the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871. Despite the repeal of the Act after Independence, subsequent legislations have forcibly alienated them from their traditional occupations and habitations, the panel noted.
The Renke Commission report of July 2008 estimated that 89 per cent of DNT and 98 per cent NT members are landless.
The National Commission for Denotified Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, chaired by BhikuRamjiIdate, has recommended that the government should provide strong legal protections and constitutional safeguards, including the extension of the Protection of Atrocities Act to the NT/ DNT/ SNT communities by creating a separate Third schedule as ‘Scheduled De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes.
It also advocated for the release of 2011 caste census, which is yet to be made public, at least on the DT/ NT/ SNT community, so that policies can be made specifically for these communities.
The Atrocities Act
i)The SC/ST Act lists 22 offences relating to various patterns or behaviours inflicting criminal offences and breaking the self-respect and esteem of the scheduled castes and tribes community. This includes denial of economic, democratic and social rights, discrimination, exploitation and abuse of the legal process.
ii)According to the SC/ST Act, the protection is provided from social disabilities such as denial of access to certain places and to use customary passage, personal atrocities like forceful drinking or eating of inedible food sexual exploitation, injury etc, atrocities affecting properties, malicious prosecution, political disabilities and economic exploitation.
iii)For a speedy trial, Section 14 of the SC/ST Act provides for a Court of Session to be a Special Court to try offences under this Act in each district.
iv)The prime objective of the SC/ST Act is to deliver justice to marginalised through proactive efforts, giving them a life of dignity, self-esteem and a life without fear, violence or suppression from the dominant castes.