THOUGHTS OF AMBEDKAR

Articles 17, 23, 24 of our Constitution are said to be Great Gifts of Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar.
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.

Untouchability is a menace and social evil associated with traditional Hindu society. It is being practiced since times immemorial and despite various efforts made by social reformers such as Dr. B. R. Ambedkar; and despite there being provision on abolition of untouchability in our Constitution under Article 17, the evil is still in practice in our country.
Article 17 of Indian Constitution seeks to abolish 'untouchability' and to forbid all such practices. It is basically a "statement of principle" that needs to be made operational with the ostensible objective to remove humiliation and multifaceted harassments meted to the Dalits and to ensure their fundamental and socio-economic, political, and cultural rights.

This is to free Indian society from blind and irrational adherence to traditional beliefs and to establish a bias free society. For that, Untouchability (Offences) Act 1955 was enacted. However, lacunae and loopholes impelled the government to project a major overhaul of this legal instrument. From 1976 onwards the Act was revamped as the Protection of Civil Rights Act. Despite various measures adopted to improve the socio-economic conditions of the SCs and STs they remain vulnerable and are subject to various offences, indignities and humiliations and harassment. When they assert their rights and against the practice of Untouchability against them the vested interest try to cow them down and terrorize them. Atrocities against the SCs and STs, still continued.

The normal provisions of the existing laws like, the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 and Indian Penal Code have been found inadequate to check these atrocities ontinuing the gross indignities and offences against Scheduled Castes and Tribes. Recognizing these, the Parliament passed ‘Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act’, 1989 & Rules, 1995. The statement of objects and reasons appended to the Bill while moving the same in the Parliament, reads

“despite various measures to improve the socioeconomic conditions of SCs & STs, they remain vulnerable. They are denied a number of civil rights; they are subjected to various offences, indignities, humiliations and harassment. They have, in several brutal incidents, been deprived of their life and property. Serious atrocities are committed against them for various historical, social and economic reasons.”
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.”

Thus objectives of the Act clearly emphasize the intention of the Government to deliver justice to these communities through proactive efforts to enable them to live in society with dignity and self-esteem and without fear or violence or suppression from the dominant castes. The practice of untouchability, in its overt and covert form was made a cognizable and non compoundable offence, and strict punishment is provided for any such offence.

The SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 with stringent provisions (which extends to whole of India except the State of Jammu & Kasmhir) was enacted on 9 September 1989. Section 23(1) of the Act authorises the Central Government to frame rules for carrying out the purpose of the Act. Drawing power from this section, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules of 1995 were framed.The rules for the Act were notified on 31 March 1995.

The purpose of the Act was to help the social inclusion of Dalits into Indian society, but the Act has failed to live up to its expectations admitted by the Union Minister for Home Affairs in parliament on 30 August 2010

Salient features
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.

Together with the rules, it provides a framework for monitoring the state response to the atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. According to the Act and Rules, there are to be monthly reports (from the District Magistrates), quarterly review meetings at the district level by the District Monitoring and Vigilance Committee (DVMC) and half yearly reviews by a 25-member State Monitoring and Vigilance Committee (SVMC) the chaired by the Chief Minister. The performance of every Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) will also have to be reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) every quarter. Annual reports have to be sent to the central government by 31 March every year.
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).

Source : Internet & Wikipedia
Akhil Sindhu
09044939939
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                  Just after the sad demise of Babasaheb Ambedkar in 1956, Eleanor Zelliot came to India in the 1960s to conduct her field work for her PhD dissertation. She was pursuing her PhD in history. Those were the days when the Sun was just gone beyond the horizon, but his impact was felt everywhere and was alive. Eleanor came as a scholar to study Ambedkar and his movement, but in the end, she dedicated herself to serve Ambedkar and his movement. Her life is a remarkable journey of one person and her determination to help the cause of liberation of India's untouchables from the shackles of the caste system
 By Kuffir Nalgundwar  

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