Constitutional Provisions

Vision

1.0 The PCR Act -1955 and the PoA Act -1989 are required to ensure elimination of offenses of un-touchability and discriminations with active participation of Civil Society at large. To instill confidence in the justice system, the protection of the vulnerable and punishment of the accused is indispensable. The aforesaid two laws, inter-alia, prescribe punishment for offences of untouchability and atrocities, the ideal situation and the vision is envisaged in conceiving a society which values dignity of all, based on equality and eliminates caste ridden attitudes. Nevertheless for achieving this utopian goal, the civil society at large has to actively participate in bringing about attitudinal changes amongst people. It is also utmost necessary that the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations have to take pro-active steps in generating harmony and fraternity amongst different communities. Equally important for the governments at the Centre and in the States are to augment steps to educationally and economically empower members of Scheduled Castes through various schemes and programmers. This would help in raising their living standards, building confidence and induce feeling of equality. An ideal situation is when the caste based frictions would be eliminated and a little need is felt to have such social laws.

Mission

2.1 Constitutional provisions and the Acts relating to offences of untouchability and atrocities

Article 17 of the Constitution of India: “Untouchability’’ is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “Untouchability’’ shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law."

In pursuance of the above Constitutional provision, the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 was enacted and notified on 08.05.1955. Subsequently, it was amended and renamed in the year 1976 as the "Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955". Rules under this Act, viz, “The Protection of Civil Rights Rules, 1977” were notified in 1977.

Another Act called, The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities){PoA} Act, 1989, was enacted and brought into force on 31.01.1990, with a view to, inter-alia, preventing “atrocities against members of SCs and STs, to provide for Special Courts for the trial of such offences, and for relief and rehabilitation of the victims” of atrocities.

2.2 Amendments have been done in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and recently The PoA Act has been further amended by the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018, and after section 18, section 18A was inserted and enforced on 20.08.2018 which reads as under:-

"18A. (1) For the purposes of this Act

(a) preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of a First Information Report against any person; or

(b) the investigating officer shall not require approval for the arrest, if necessary, of any person, against whom an accusation of having committed an offence under this Act has been made and no procedure other than that provided under this Act or the Code shall apply.

(2) The provisions of section 438 of the Code shall not apply to a case under this Act, notwithstanding any judgment or order or direction of any Court."


2.3 The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 made by the Central Government have also been amended by the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016 and enforced with effect from 14.04.2016.


The amendments broadly relate to provisions of relief amount for 47 offences of atrocities, rationalization of the phasing of payment of relief amount, enhancement of relief amount between Rs. 85,000/- - Rs. 8,25,000/-, depending upon the nature of the offence, payment of admissible relief to within seven days, completion of investigation and filing of charge sheet within sixty days to enable timely commencement of prosecution and periodic review of the Scheme for the rights and entitlements of victims and witnesses in accessing justice, by the State, District and Sub-Division Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committees in their respective meetings.

The PoA Rules have been further amended by the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2018 and notified in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, vide notification dated 27.06.2018. The amendments broadly relate to provision of relief to victims of unnatural offences (IPC 377, sr. no.44, col.(2) of Annexure -I to Schedule of PoA Rules), grievous hurt by throwing acid(IPC 326B, sr. no.24, col.(2) of Annexure. I to Schedule of PoA Rules), omission of limit of 25 members of State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (SLVMC){Rule 16(1) of PoA Rules}, provision of relief in case of death, injury, rape, gang rape, unnatural offences, grievous hurt by throwing acid etc., damage to property, in addition to any other right to claim compensation in respect thereof under any other law.

2.4 Measures taken by Central Government towards effective implementation of PoA Act.

2.4.1 Centrally Sponsored Scheme for implementation of the Acts

The Acts are implemented by the respective State Governments and Union Territory Administrations, therefore, with a view to ensuring effective implementation of the provisions of the Acts, under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, due central assistance is provided to them mainly for:-

  • Strengthening of the enforcement and judicial machinery,
  • Incentive for inter caste marriages,
  • Awareness generation and
  • Relief and rehabilitation of the affected persons.


2.4.2 Institutional structures and mechanisms, regarding the implementation of the PCR Act and PoA Act in various States/UTs

  • SC/ST Protection Cells at State Headquarters, and Special Police Stations for SC/ST
  • Special Courts and Exclusive Special Courts
  • Nodal Officers
  • Delineation of “Identified Areas” or “atrocity prone areas”.
  • Constitution and meetings of State, District and District level Vigilance and Monitoring Committees

2.5 It is important that the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations during this period take necessary steps to effectively implement the provisions of the amended PoA Act and the amended PoA Rules so as to ensure elimination of offenses of un-touchability and discrimination with active participation of Civil Society at large.


2.6 Due Central assistance is made available to all the States and Union Territories under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.


Central Assistance released in the last Financial Years in Crores
Financial Year 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21
Budget Estimate 90 90 90.75 150 300 403.72 530 550
Revised Estimate 130 150.29 120.75 228.49 361 405.72 630
Released to States/UTs 130 150.29 120.75 228.49 361 405.72 619.64 398.22