BETTER PROTECTION Centre specifies as many as 47 categories of offences in which states will pay compensation ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 8.25 lakh to SCST victims
An SCST victim of gang rape, murder or an acid attack will now get a minimum compensation of `8.5 lakh from a state government, in what is an significant enhancement of relief for such crimes through an amendment to the rules by Centre.The Centre has amended the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 through a notification on April 14, now specifying as many as 47 categories of offences in which states will pay compensation ranging from `1 lakh to `8.25 lakh to SCST victims.The rules last amended in 2011 had provisions for only 22 kinds of offences with minimum compensation ranging from `60,000 to `5Lakh.

The enhanced amounts now must be paid by the state within 7 days of the incident being reported, either in full or at various stages of the investigation and trial, as per a schedule.District Magistrates have been authorised to immediately withdraw money from state treasuries for the same and courts empowered to also order socioeconomic rehabilitation. The Police will now have to file a charge sheet in cases of SCST victims within 60 days and any delay has to be explained in writing by the officers.

Any incident of intentionally touching an SCST woman without her consent, stalking, sexual harassment or sexual assault will now lead to compensation of `2lakh. A rape victim would get `5 lakh while a victim of gang rape or a acid attack damaging her face would get `8.5 lakh. Earlier, outraging modesty or sexual exploitation of a SCST woman got her only `1.2 lakh relief. Any crime against SCST involving punishment of over 10 years, had relief of `50,000 while compensation was `5lakh for murder .

The new rules have also detailed many offences which were earlier in a general category such as a “deroga tory act“ and “insult, intimidation and humiliation“ and only got a minimum of `60,000 as compensation.New categories as in the existing SC ST Act have now been specified in the rules like abusing by caste name in any place within public view, promoting dedication of a SCST woman as a devadasi and Garlanding with footwear or parading naked or semi-naked with a relief of `1 Lakh.

Under the new rules, Prevention from voting or filing nominations or any poll-related violence or boycott during voting of SCST persons would now lead to a compensation of at least `85,000 to each victim. Any victimisation of a SCST person at hands of a public servant would mean a compensation of `2lakh while any social or economic boycott of a Dalit person would lead to a relief of `1 lakh for the victim. Denying a SC ST person entry to an educational institution, hospital or any public place would lead to immediate restoration of the right plus a compensation of `1 lakh a new provision.

The new rules, notified on April 14 as SCs and the STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016, have come into force immediately .The Modi Government had brought the new Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 which was applicable from this January 26 to ensure more stringent provisions for prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribe. The new rules now enforces this Act.