Igniting Ideas For impact

Embarking on a transformative journey through six chapters, we traverse India's landscape, exploring pioneering startups and their revolutionary...

10 months

The Amended SC & ST Prevention of Atrocities Act Will Ensure Speedy Justice to Victims

The Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act, 1989 was amended recently to include new offences and to ensure speedy justice to victims.

The Amended SC & ST Prevention of Atrocities Act Will Ensure Speedy Justice to Victims

The amended Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules were recently notified. The major amendments to the principle act include addition of new offences of atrocities, rationalization of payment of relief amount, establishment of exclusive special courts, etc.

The Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act, 1989 was amended recently to include new offences and to ensure speedy justice to victims. The amendments to the Act were originally issued as an ordinance by the previous UPA government in March 2014. The NDA government has now got the amendments passed in both the houses of Parliament. Subsequent to the amendments, certain changes became necessary to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995. The said rules are now modified and were notified on 14th April, 2016.

Major amendments to the rules

Crimes against the SCs and STs have been on the rise. A total of 39408 crimes against SCs were reported in the year 2013 while the number of crimes against SCs has gone up to 47064 in 2014.

There has been a demand to amend the existing PoA act to include more offences and to ensure relief & speedy justice to the victims.


Photo credit:

The following major changes have been made now via the amendment

  • Rationalization of the phasing of relief amount payment to victims for various offences of atrocities. The rules also specify relief amount for various offences of atrocities.
  • Not linking payment of any part of relief amount with the requirement of medical examination for non-invasive kind of offences against women like sexual harassment, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty, to disrobe, voyeurism, stalking etc.
  • Provision of relief for offences of rape and gang rape.
  • Increase in the existing quantum of relief amount depending upon the nature of the offence, while linking it with the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers

New Offences of Atrocities

The following new offences have been added to the list of atrocities

  • Tonsuring of head, moustache, or similar acts which are derogatory to the dignity of members of SCs & STs
  • Garlanding with Chappals
  • Denying access to irrigation facilities or forest rights
  • Dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or to dig graves, using or permitting manual scavenging
  • Dedicating a SC/ST woman as Devadasi
  • Abusing in caste name, perpetrating witchcraft atrocities
  • Imposing social or economic boycott
  • Preventing SC/ST candidates from filing of nomination to contest elections
  • Hurting a SC/ST woman by removing her garments
  • Forcing a member of SC/ST to leave house , village or residence
  • Defiling objects sacred to members SCs/STs
  • Touching or using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature against members of SCs/STs

SC & ST Prevention of Atrocities_new atrocities

Exclusive Special Courts for Speedy Justice

The amendments to the act also mandate establishment of exclusive Special Courts and appointment of Exclusive Special Public Prosecutors to try the offences under this act. This is made to enable speedy justice and expeditious disposal of cases.

The Special Courts have been authorized to take direct cognizance of offence and as far as possible, completion of trial of the case within two months, from the date of filing of the charge sheet.

The State Governments have been asked to prepare a panel of senior advocates who have been in practice for not less than seven years for each District, for conducting the cases filed under this Act.

Supreme Court in New Delhi on 02/02/2012 (Photo By Tribhuvan Tiwari/Outlook)

Photo credit:

The State Governments have also been asked to review the performance of these advocates at least twice in a calendar year. They are also asked to review various reports received, investigation made and preventive steps taken by the District Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, relief and rehabilitation facilities provided to the victims etc.

Enhancement in Relief Amount

The norms for relief amount have also been rationalized including enhancement of the relief amount for certain offences.  Relief amount in case of certain offences are

  • Rs 85,000 to the victim in case of offences like Prevention from voting, filing nomination, Forcing, intimidating or obstructing a holder of office of Panchayat or Municipality from performing duties etc.
  • Rs 5,00,000 to the victim in case of rape and Rs 8,25,000 in case of gang rape
  • Rs 8,25,000 in case of murder
  • Rs 1,00,000 in case of imposition or threatening a social or economic boycott
  • Rs 1,00,000 in case of preventing a SC/ST entering any place of worship which is open to the public etc

SC & ST Prevention of Atrocities_enhancement in relief amount

A new chapter on the ‘Rights of Victims and Witnesses’ has also been added to the act. The term ‘willful negligence’ of public servants at all levels, starting from the registration of complaint, and covering aspects of dereliction of duty under this Act has been clearly defined.

If you found our stories insightful, informative, or even just enjoyable, we invite you to consider making a voluntary payment to support the work we do at The Better India. Your contribution helps us continue producing quality content that educates, inspires, and drives positive change.

Choose one of the payment options below for your contribution-

By paying for the stories you value, you directly contribute to sustaining our efforts focused on making a difference in the world. Together, let’s ensure that impactful stories continue to be told and shared, enriching lives and communities alike.

Thank you for your support. Here are some frequently asked questions you might find helpful to know why you are contributing?

Support the biggest positivity movement section image
Support the biggest positivity movement section image

Presumption to the offences has been added to the act, i.e., If the accused was acquainted with the victim or his family, the court will presume that the accused was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim unless proved otherwise.

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: [email protected], or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia).

Written by Rakesh Dubbudu for Factly and republished here in arrangement with Factly.

This story made me

  • feel inspired icon
  • more aware icon
  • better informative icon
  • do something icon

Tell Us More



See All