The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the SC/ST bill that provides for stringent action against those compelling any member of Dalit or tribal communities to carry human or animal carcasses or do manual scavenging.
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, provides for establishing special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims.
The bill was passed without a debate, after an agreement was reached on it in the all party meeting.
The legislation came into focus last week when Congress members were protesting against atrocities on Dalits, and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati proposed that the bill shall be passed without debate.
Congress, Left and some other parties were against passing the bill without debate, but however after Friday’s all party meet, an agreement was reached in this connection.
The bill amends the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which prohibits the commission of offences against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs/STs) and establishes special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims.
The new offences added to the act under the Bill include garlanding with footwear, compelling to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or do manual scavenging, abusing SCs or STs by caste name in public, attempting to promote feelings of ill-will against SCs or STs or disrespecting any deceased person held in high esteem, and imposing or threatening a social or economic boycott.