Centre modifies SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for speedy justice

New Delhi : New Rules have been notified by the Centre on Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary to revamp Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to speed up the process of dispensation of justice to victims of atrocities and liberalise and expedite access to relief for community members who have been victims of such atrocities.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had notified the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules 2016 on April 14, following which rules have now been framed to give effect to the amended provisions of completion of investigation and filing of chargesheet in the court within sixty days.

There is also provision of relief for offences of rape and gang rape, introduced for the first time; 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 and stalking.

Besides, it has a provision of admissible relief amount to the SC/ST women for offences of grievous nature, on conclusion of trial, even though not ending in conviction.

It also increases the existing quantum of relief amount from between Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 7, 50,000 to between Rs. 85,000 and Rs. 8, 25,000, depending on the nature of the offence, while linking it with the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers for the month of January, 2016.

It also provides provision of admissible relief in cash or in kind or both within seven days to the victims of atrocity, their family members and dependents, and rationalisation of the phasing of payment of relief amount to victims for various offences of atrocities.

The new rules also provides for 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. (ANI)