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A Letter for You...

by safdar — last modified 2009-09-02 13:45

Dear Friends, Jai Bheem, As you all know Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 received assent of the President of India on 11th September 1989 and this year is its 20th anniversary.

This is a one of the most comprehensive and powerful instrument for protection of SCs and STs which has punitive measures to adequately punish those who perpetrate atrocities, preventative measures to discourage atrocities and compensatory measures to uplift Dalit victims of atrocities. If sincerely implemented, it has the potential of curbing atrocities against SCs and STs and, thereby, liberating them to more freely and actively, without fear, pursues opportunities for their own economic and social upliftment but we are all experienced gross negligence in implementation of the Act at various levels.
On this occasion of 20th anniversary of the Act, many of us felt the need to critically review its performance in realization of its objective and some judicious amendments to the SC/ST Act 1989 and Rules 1995 can be brought to make it more binding and strong which are critical to address for strengthening Act and Rules.

NCDHR initiated this process through its one of the movements – National Dalit Movement for Justice (NCDHR) organized an informal preliminary discussion on 25th June 2009, at Indian Social Institute, Delhi. Some organizations and activists from several states participated in the discussion and took a decision to prepare a position paper and draft amendment bill taking into consideration the status reports of organizations, Advisories issued by the Ministry of Home and Social Justice and Empowerment, Recommendations by Justice Punnaih Commission etc. A working group was formed and prepared its first draft of amendments and justification (please find the attachment) under the guidance of Sri. P.S Krishanan, Rtd IAS.

This Working Group organized a consultation on 11th August 09 in New Delhi with a small group to discussion on the first draft prepared. I am attaching a brief report of the consultation for your information. The Group decided to circulate the draft prepared to you for further suggestions and feedback. We have also decided to strengthen the workings group with a legal expertise to absorb the current changes being brought in the jurisprudence in the criminal law.

We feel your participation and involvement is critical to build a movement necessary to bring a change for strengthen this SC/ST POA. In order to do this, it was decided to organizing a National level consultation on September 11 – 12 and launch campaign and make draft amendment public and to evolve an action plan. Tentatively it was suggested to name this process as National Coalition for Strengthening PoA Act.

We appeal to you to go through the draft attached, give your suggestions on the draft amendments and justification and to participate to be a part of this campaign. I also request Miloon and Caroline to see the possibility of having this also as one of the agenda point in our working group meeting on 4th September 09. 

With regards

On behalf of National Coalition for Strengthening PoA Act.

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