Criminal

What is an atrocity against Scheduled Castes or a Scheduled Tribes

Atrocity means an offence punishable under section 3;

Offences Of Atrocities

3. Punishments for offences of atrocities –

(1) Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe,-

(a) puts any inedible or obnoxious substance into the mouth of a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or forces such member to drink or eat such inedible or obnoxious substance;

(b) dumps excreta, sewage, carcasses or any other obnoxious substance in premises, or at the entrance of the premises, occupied by a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe;

(c) with intent to cause injury, insult or annoyance to any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, dumps excreta, waste matter, carcasses or any other obnoxious substance in his neighbourhood;

(d) garlands with footwear or parades naked or semi-naked a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe;

(e) forcibly commits on a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe any act, such as removing clothes from the person, forcible tonsuring of head, removing moustaches, painting face or body or any other similar act, which is derogatory to human dignity;

(f) wrongfully occupies or cultivates any land, owned by, or in the possession of or allotted to, or notified by any competent authority to be allotted to, a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, or gets such land transferred;

(g) wrongfully dispossesses a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe from his land or premises or interferes with the enjoyment of his rights, including forest rights, over any land or premises or water or irrigation facilities or destroys the crops or takes away the produce therefrom.

Explanation – For the purposes of clause (f) and this clause, the expression “wrongfully” includes-

(A) against the person’s will;

(B) without the person’s consent;

(C) with the person’s consent, where such consent has been obtained by putting the person, or any other person in whom the person is interested in fear of death or of hurt; or

(D) fabricating records of such land;

(h) makes a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to do “begar” or other forms of forced or bonded labour other than any compulsory service for public purposes imposed by the Government;

(i) compels a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or to dig graves;

(j) makes a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to do manual scavenging or employs or permits the employment of such member for such purpose;

(k) performs, or promotes dedicating a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe woman to a deity, idol, object of worship, temple, or other religious institution as a devadasi or any other similar practice or permits aforementioned acts;

(l) forces or intimidates or prevents a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe-

(A) not to vote or to vote for a particular candidate or to vote in a manner other than that provided by law;

(B) not to file a nomination as a candidate or to withdraw such nomination; or

(C) not to propose or second the nomination of a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe as a candidate in any election;

(m) forces or intimidates or obstructs a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, who is a member or a Chairperson or a holder of any other office of a Panchayat under Part IX of the Constitution or a Municipality under Part IXA of the Constitution, from performing their normal duties and functions;

(n) after the poll, causes hurt or grievous hurt or assault or imposes or threatens to impose social or economic boycott upon a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or prevents from availing benefits of any public service which is due to him;

(o) commits any offence under this Act against a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe for having voted or not having voted for a particular candidate or for having voted in a manner provided by law;

(p) institutes false, malicious or vexatious suit or criminal or other legal proceedings against a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe;

(q) gives any false or frivolous information to any public servant and thereby causes such public servant to use his lawful power to the injury or annoyance of a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe;

(r) intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view;

(s) abuses any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe by caste name in any place within public view;

(t) destroys, damages or defiles any object generally known to be held sacred or in high esteem by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes.

Explanation – For the purposes of this clause, the expression “object” means and includes statue, photograph and portrait;

(u) by words either written or spoken or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will against members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes;

(v) by words either written or spoken or by any other means disrespects any late person held in high esteem by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes;

(w) (i) intentionally touches a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, knowing that she belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, when such act of touching is of a sexual nature and is without the recipient’s consent;

(ii) uses words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature towards a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, knowing that she belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.

Explanation – For the purposes of sub-clause (i), the expression “consent” means an unequivocal voluntary agreement when the person by words, gestures, or any form of non-verbal communication, communicates willingness to participate in the specific act:

Provided that a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe who does not offer physical resistance to any act of a sexual nature is not by reason only of that fact, is to be regarded as consenting to the sexual activity:

Provided further that a woman’s sexual history, including with the offender shall not imply consent or mitigate the offence;

(x) corrupts or fouls the water of any spring, reservoir or any other source ordinarily used by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes so as to render it less fit for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used;

(y) denies a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe any customary right of passage to a place of public resort or obstructs such member so as to prevent him from using or having access to a place of public resort to which other members of public or any other section thereof have a right to use or access to;

(z) forces or causes a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to leave his house, village or other place of residence:

Provided that nothing contained in this clause shall apply to any action taken in discharge of a public duty;

(za) obstructs or prevents a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any manner with regard to-

(A) using common property resources of an area, or burial or cremation ground equally with others or using any river, stream, spring, well, tank, cistern, water-tap or other watering place, or any bathing ghat, any public conveyance, any road, or passage;

(B) mounting or riding bicycles or motor cycles or wearing footwear or new clothes in public places or taking out wedding procession, or mounting a horse or any other vehicle during wedding processions;

(C) entering any place of worship which is open to the public or other persons professing the same religion or taking part in, or taking out, any religious, social or cultural processions including jatras;

(D) entering any educational institution, hospital, dispensary, primary health centre, shop or place of public entertainment or any other public place; or using any utensils or articles meant for public use in any place open to the public; or

(E) practising any profession or the carrying on of any occupation, trade or business or employment in any job which other members of the public, or any section thereof, have a right to use or have access to;

(zb) causes physical harm or mental agony of a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe on the allegation of practising witchcraft or being a witch; or

(zc) imposes or threatens a social or economic boycott of any person or a family or a group belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine.

(2) Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe,

(i) gives or fabricates false evidence intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to be convicted of an offence which is capital by the law for the time being in force shall be punished with imprisonment for life and with fine; and if an innocent member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe be convicted and executed in consequence of such false or fabricated evidence, the person who gives or fabricates such false evidence, shall be punished with death;

(ii) gives or fabricates false evidence intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to be convicted of an offence which is not capital but punishable with imprisonment for a term of seven years or upwards, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to seven years or upwards and with fine;

(iii) commits mischief by fire or any explosive substance intending to cause or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause damage to any property belonging to a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to seven years and with fine;

(iv) commits mischief by fire or any explosive substance intending to cause or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause destruction of any building which is ordinarily used as a place of worship or as a place for human dwelling or as a place for custody of the property by a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life and with fine;

(v) commits any offence under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) punishable with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more against a person or property knowing that such person is a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or such property belongs to such member, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life and with fine;

(va) commits any offence specified in the Schedule, against a person or property, knowing that such person is a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or such property belongs to such member, shall be punishable with such punishment as specified under the Indian Penal Code for such offences and shall also be liable to fine.

(vi) knowingly or having reason to believe that an offence has been committed under this Chapter, causes any evidence of the commission of that offence to disappear with the intention of screening the offender from legal punishment, or with that intention gives any information respecting the offence which he knows or believes to be false, shall be punishable with the punishment provided for that offence; or

(vii) being a public servant, commits any offence under this section, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to the punishment provided for that offence.

4. Punishment for neglect of duties

(1) Whoever, being a public servant but not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, wilfully neglects his duties required to be performed by him under this Act and the rules made thereunder, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year.

(2) The duties of public servant referred to in sub-section (1) shall include–

(a) to read out to an informant the information given orally, and reduced to writing by the officer in charge of the police station, before taking the signature of the informant;

(b) to register a complaint or a First Information Report under this Act and other relevant provisions and to register it under appropriate sections of this Act;

(c) to furnish a copy of the information so recorded forthwith to the informant;

(d) to record the statement of the victims or witnesses;

(e) to conduct the investigation and file charge sheet in the Special Court or the Exclusive Special Court within a period of sixty days, and to explain the delay if any, in writing;

(f) to correctly prepare, frame and translate any document or electronic record;

(g) to perform any other duty specified in this Act or the rules made thereunder:

Provided that the charges in this regard against the public servant shall be booked on the recommendation of an administrative enquiry.

(3) The cognizance in respect of any dereliction of duty referred to in sub-section (2) by a public servant shall be taken by the Special Court or the Exclusive Special Court and shall give direction for penal proceedings against such public servant.

5. Enhanced punishment for subsequent conviction

Whoever, having already been convicted of an offence under this Chapter is convicted for the second offence or any offence subsequent to the second offence, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to the punishment provided for that offence.


Old Law

Sec 4. Punishment for neglect of duties

Whoever, being a public servant but not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, wilfully neglects his duties required to be performed by him under this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year.


 Refer: The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989