The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to prevent atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The Act is popularly known as the SC/ST Act, POA, the Prevention of Atrocities Act, or simply the Atrocities Act.
Online legal training was given to PEC and grassroot activists based in the field by Prita Jha, on the Atrocity Act. This informative session set out the definitions and acts considered to be in direct contravention of the act, which protects the rights of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SCST) communities.
In main, the act covers:
- SCST community being insulted ie. that which affects their dignity eg. removing beard/moustache/hair, making someone wear a slipper chain around their neck, insulting against caste in public, not permitting SCST into a place of worship
- Socio-economic boycott, forced labour, removing them from/taking their land, affecting their use of land, removal of bodies/carcasses – offences under sections 31 j + i. Land, labour, public resources, socio/economic boycott
- IPC offences
- Yonic – sexual offences – removing clothes of a female SCST, power / dominance over woman
- Voting rights – not allowed to vote, force or intimidation to vote. Non SCST attempts to prevent them from nominating for voting
- SCST wrongful dismissal / false cases – with intention of causing their conviction, wrongful information and malicious to cause negative affect on SCST communities
Our advocates, Yasinbhai Mansuri (based in Ahmedabad) and Gopalbhai Patel (based in Anand) were also on-hand to explain the law and provided examples of the Atrocity cases that they have worked on in the past to further equip our activists and volunteers with the knowledge to handle such cases.