This act was enacted by the parliament of India on 30th January 1990 and commenced on 31st March 1995. There have been several incidents where the people belonging to this community have been deprived of their rights and property. The sole and main objective of this act is to protect the rights and deliver justice to SC /ST communities through affirmative action. There are certain salient features of this act:
- Creation of new types of offenses not in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 (PCRA).
- Commission of offenses only by specified persons (atrocities can be committed only by non-SCs and non-STs on members of the SC or ST communities. Crimes among SCs and STs or between STs and SCs do not come under the purview of this Act).
- Defines various types of atrocities against SCs/STs (Section 3(1) I to xv and 3(2) I to vii).
4.Prescribes stringent punishment for such atrocities (Section 3(1)i to xv and 3(2)i to vii).
5.Enhanced punishment for some offences (Section 3(2)i to vii, 5).
- Enhanced minimum punishment for public servants (Section 3(2)vii).
- Punishment for neglect of duties by a public servant(Section 4).
- Attachment and forfeiture of property (Section 7).Externment of potential offenders (Section 10(1), 10(3), 10(3)).Creation of Special Courts (Section 14).
- Appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (Section 15). Empowers the government to impose collective fines (Section 16).Cancellation of arms licenses in the areas identified where an atrocity may take place or has taken place (Rule 3iii) and seize all illegal firearms (Rule 3iv).
- Grant arms licenses to SCs and STs (Rule 3v).
- Denial of anticipatory bail (Section 18).Denial of probation to convict (Section 19). Provides compensation, relief, and rehabilitation for victims of atrocities or their legal heirs (Section 17(3), 21(2)iii, Rule 11, 12(4)).
12.Identification of atrocity prone areas (Section 17(1), 21(2)vii, Rule 3(1)).Setting up deterrents to avoid committing atrocities on the SCs amongst others (Rules 3i to 3xi).
- Setting up a mandatory, periodic monitoring system at different levels (Section 21(2)v):
District level (Rule 3xi, 4(2), 4(4), 17).
State level (8xi, 14, 16, 18).
National level (Section 21(2), 21(3), 21(4)).