The Narendra Modi government is likely to bring a bill in the Budget session of Parliament to strengthen a law against atrocities on SCs and STs, a move initiated by the previous UPA government.
The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, which was promulgated on March 4 this year, brought crimes like rape, assault and kidnapping under the purview of this act.
Most of these crimes invite punishment of less than 10 years, but following the amendments crimes like these now invite punishment for more than 10 years, adding teeth to the existing Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act 1989. The amendments to Section 3 also define new crimes and add some to the list.
Obstructing use of common property, allegations of witchcraft, preventing entry in place of worship, social economic boycott and promoting enmity are some of the changes which have been added to the list. These crimes are now considered as cruelty against SCs and STs. The measure also establishes special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims.
The government is likely to bring the bill in the Budget session of Parliament, official sources said. The UPA government had brought the Bill in the previous Lok Sabha. Since it could not be passed, it had brought an Ordinance.
But it is not yet clear whether the bill will have the same provisions as in the Ordinance.