In our society there still exist feeling of Superiority of Caste and Birth. We can experience the practice of untouchability in everyday life around us, especially in rural and semi-urban areas of the country. Also, in big metro cities, the inhuman practice of manual scavenging is still there. According to a news report of Press Trust of India (PTI), on January 3, 2014, four tea shop vendors were arrested by the Police in Karnataka for practicing untouchability while selling tea- they were serving tea in different types of cups to caste Hindus and SC/STs. The incidence shows that the evil practice is so deep rooted in social communities after several years of Independence is continuing in one form or other.
The preamble of the Act also states that the Act is
“to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against the members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, to provide for Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of such offenses and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
The provisions of SC/ST Act and Rules can be divided into three different categories, covering a variety of issues related to atrocities against SC/ST people and their position in society.
• The first category contains provisions of criminal law. It establishes criminal liability for a number of specifically defined atrocities, and extends the scope of certain categories of penalization s given in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
• The second category contains provisions for relief and compensation for victims of atrocities.
• The third category contains provisions that establish special authorities for the implementation and monitoring of the Act.
The Act and Rules are a potent mechanism and precision instruments that can be used in tandem with the Right To Information (RTI) Act 2005 to motivate the state to hold the mandatory meetings and enforce compliance. A Human Rights Defenders Monitoring Calendar has been developed from the Act and rules to help human rights defenders, and others to clarify the functions and duties of the monitoring authorities (the SVMC and DVMC).
By Kuffir Nalgundwar