NAC recommendations on strengthening SC/ST Act



New Delhi: Imposing social boycott on Dalits and tribals, obstructing use of common property resources and preventing their entry into temple should attract legal penalty, the National Advisory Council (NAC) has suggested.

In its recommendations on strengthening the SC&STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the NAC working group on Dalit and tribal issues, also demanded a new chapter in the act detailing the rights of victims and witnesses.

The NAC, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, also sought enhanced compensation to victims of atrocities. It suggested that the compensation should not be a fixed amount but adjusted annually to inflation.

The advisory panel also wanted establishment of dedicated courts with powers to take cognisance of offences under the act to hear case of atrocities against Dalits and tribals.

It also wanted the government to make provisions in the Act to ensure that the cases are disposed of within three months from filing of the chargesheet.

It also recommended that relevant IPC offences attracting punishment of less than 10 years committed against SCs and STs should be defined as offences under this act.

The NAC also wanted expansion of the scope of presumption as to whether perpetrator had knowledge of the SC/ST identity of the victim, while committing the offence.

It also suggested strengthening State accountability by clearly defining 'wilful negligence' by public servants.

PTI