Parliament has passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, with the Rajya Sabha approving it by voice vote.
Lok Sabha has already passed it. The Bill is aimed at delivering justice to the SCs and STs.
The amended bill has done away with the provision of seeking prior permission for the arrest of those committing atrocities against Dalits.
Replying to a debate on the bill in the Rajya Sabha, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said, the government is committed to the welfare of the poor and protecting the interests of Dalits.
He said, under the legislation, there is a provision of setting up special courts to deal with the cases related atrocities against the SCs and STs.
Mr Gehlot rejected the opposition charges that the bill has been brought under any pressure saying that government has taken several steps for the welfare of the weaker section of society.
Earlier, initiating the discussion in the post-lunch session, Kumari Selja of the Congress alleged that BJP is anti-Dalit. She claimed that the highest number of crimes against SCs and STs have taken place in the BJP-ruled states. She demanded that the bill be passed immediately to prevent atrocities against Dalits.
Dr Kirodi Lal Meena of the BJP called for greater representation of SCs and STs in higher judiciary. He demanded the abolition of Collegium system adding that it should be replaced with Indian Judicial System to raise the representation of the SCs and STs for delivery of justice.