Protecting the Rights of Dalits and Adivasis
In addition to the laws mentioned for the well-being of all the citizens of India, there is a special act for the protection of the rights of the Dalits and Adivasis.
- Sometimes it happens that the Higher caste discriminates against the lower castes and they have to go with many mental traumas, for the protection from such things the government of India has passed a new act.
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- This Act was framed in 1989 in response to demands made by Dalits and others that the government must take seriously the ill treatment and humiliation Dalits and tribal groups face in an everyday sense.
- The Act distinguishes several levels of crimes: Firstly, it lists the modes of the humiliation that are both physically horrific and morally reprehensible and seeks to punish those who (i) force a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance; … (iii) forcibly removes clothes from the person of a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or parades him or her naked or with painted face or body or commits any similar act which is derogatory to human dignity…
- Secondly, it lists actions that dispossess Dalits and Adivasis of their meagre resources or which force them into performing slave labour. Thus, the Act sets out to punish anyone who (iv) wrongfully occupies or cultivates any land owned by, or allotted to, … a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or gets the land allotted to him transferred.
- At another level, the Act recognizes that crimes against Dalit and tribal women are of a specific kind and, therefore, seeks to penalise anyone who (xi) assaults or uses force on any woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe with intent to dishonour her.