New Delhi: The Government of India has notified new rules to revamp a stronger Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
This means that investigative agencies will have to act swiftly and file their chargesheet within a period of 60 days.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has notified the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016 on 14 April 2016, on the birthday of Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was amended by Parliament in 2016. The amendments have made stronger provisions for the protection of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from atrocities against them.
Rules have now been framed to give effect to the amended provisions. These rules will speed up the process of dispensation of justice to victims of atrocities, that are strongly sensitive in cases of offences against women, and liberalize and expedite access to relief for the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes who have been victims of atrocities.
Some of the important provisions are:
(i) Completion of investigation and filing of charge sheet in the court within 60 days.
(ii) Provision of relief for offences of rape and gang rape (this provision has been introduced for the first time).
(iii) Delinking requirement of medical examination for getting relief amount for non-invasive kind of offences against women like sexual harassment, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty of women, assault or use of criminal force with intent to disrobe, voyeurism, stalking.
(iv) Provision of admissible relief amount to SC/ST women for offences of grievous nature, on conclusion of trial, even though not ending in conviction.
(v) Increase in the existing quantum of relief amount from between Rs. 75,000/- to Rs. 7, 50,000/-to between Rs. 85,000/- to Rs. 8, 25,000/-, depending upon the nature of the offence, while linking it with the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers for the month of January, 2016.
(vi) Provision of admissible relief in cash or in kind or both within seven days to the victims of atrocity, their family members and dependents.
(vii) Rationalization of the phasing of payment of relief amount to victims for various offences of atrocities.
(x) Regular Reviews of the scheme for the rights and entitlements of victims and witnesses in accessing justice at the State, District and Sub-Division Level Committees in their respective meetings.