Revamping of Prevention of Atrocities Act

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The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities){PoA} Act 1989 has already been amended vide its Amendment Act, 2015 enforced on 26.01.2016, with an objective to deliver greater justice to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The amendments broadly relate to addition of several new offences of atrocities besides rephrasing and expansion of some of earlier offences; establishment of Exclusive Special Courts and provision for Exclusive Special Public Prosecutors for conducting cases in such Courts; empowerment of Special Courts and Exclusive Special Courts to take direct cognizance of offences; and addition of a chapter on the ‘Right of victims and Witnesses’.

In regard to the Judgment dated 20.03.2018 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No. 416 of 2018 (Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan Vs the State of Maharashtra and Another, arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.5661 of 2017), which has bearing on the vires of the PoA Act, the Union of India has filed a Review Petition (Crl.) on 02.04.2018 in the Hon’ble Court, praying for reviewing the judgment and recalling the direction. Since the matter is presently sub-juiced, it may not be prudent to decide upon any further course of action at this stage.

This information was given by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Ramdas Athawale in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.