Speedy justice in offing for victims of Dalit atrocities, govt notifies new rules in SC/ST Act
New Delhi: In a development that could go a long way in ensuring speedy justice for those who have suffered from atrocities against the Dalit community, the central government today notified new rules in the existing legislation that make it mandatory for policemen to file a chargesheet within 60 days of registering a complaint, among other provisions.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had notified the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules 2016 on April 14, B R Ambedkar’s birt anniversary, following which rules been framed to give effect to the amended provisions for expediting justice.
As per the new provisions, the investigation and filing of chargesheet will have to be mandatorily concluded within a period of two months from the date of registering a complaint.
Fresh measures that the new rules mandate will make it easier for women to access relief for offences of rape and gangrape. In a significant move, the new norms delink the requirement of medical examination for getting relief amount for non-invasive kind of offences against women.
These offences include sexual harassment, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty of women, assault or use of criminal force with intent to disrobe, voyeurism and stalking.
Monetary compensation to the victims has also been hiked. Compensation will now range between Rs 85,000 and Rs 8, 25,000, up from the current comensation levels of Rs 75,000 and Rs 7, 50,000, depending upon the nature of the offence.
Another important measure introduced by the government makes provisions for admissible relief amount to women from marginalised communities even if the trial does not end in conviction of the accused. Such relief will be applicable for offences against women of grievous nature.
It also provides provision of admissible relief in cash or in kind or both within seven days to the victims of atrocity, their family members and dependents, and rationalisation of the phasing of payment of relief amount to victims for various offences of atrocities.
The new rules also provides for regular reviews of the scheme for the rights and entitlements of victims and witnesses in accessing justice at the state, District and Sub-Division Level Committees in their respective meetings.