Why in News?
The SC recently issued a slew of guidelines to protect public servants and private employees from arbitrary arrests under the Atrocities Act.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
SCs and STs have NOT been defined in the Indian Constitution. The power to list of these castes and tribes is vested in the President under article 341 and 342 of the constitution. Thus, those castes and tribes are scheduled, which are so notified by the president. If the list is related to a state, then also, the power is with the president but the listing can be done after consultation with the governor of the state.
SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
This is a comprehensive law [read here on wikipedia] which not only defines atrocities against SCs and STs but also make several rules, regulations etc. for proper protection of these vulnerable classes.
i)Under this law, an offender is a person who does not belong to SCs and STs and commits crimes against the members of SC and STs. A victim is a member of these communities.
ii)The offences against the SCs and STs are cognizable. This implies that the police can arrest the offender without any warrant and start an investigation without taking any court orders.
iii)The act directs the states to constitute special courts for hearing cases on atrocities against scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.
iv)The act authorizes the Central Government to frame rules for carrying out the purpose of the Act.
v)The 1989 Act penalises casteist insults and even denies anticipatory bail to the suspected offenders
i)Issuing a slew of guidelines to protect public servants and private employees from arbitrary arrests under the Atrocities Act, the court directed that public servants can only be arrested with the written permission of their appointing authority. In the case of private employees, the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned should allow it.
ii) A preliminary inquiry should be conducted before the FIR is registered to check whether the case falls within the parameters of the Atrocities Act and if it is frivolous or motivated.