Laws for Dalit Rights and Dignity
By A. Ramaiah
The concern for protecting the rights and dignity of Dalits (Scheduled Castes) has been a major challenge even after India's independence. Despite special protective laws such as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and their implementation for several decades, the Scheduled Castes continue to be the victims of caste-based untouchability and atrocities. Though most of such incidents go often unreported, even the cases registered under these laws also end in acquittal. This scenario on the one hand raises doubts on the will and commitment of the state, particularly its law-enforcing machinery, on the other hand, it necessitates the need for understanding the various factors that lead to the acquittal of most of these cases. The present volume is a pioneering work exploring the uses and abuses of such special protective laws. On the basis of the experiences of and views expressed by the victims, accused, police, NGOs, judiciary and people in general involved in over 15 acquitted cases chosen for the present study, it brings to light the various factors responsible for most of the untouchability and atrocity cases ending in acquittal. Thus, moving away from the existing practice of depending on the data collected by the government agencies, the book relies primarily on the empirical and qualitative data collected from multiple stakeholders. It also offers suggestions not only for effective implementation of these laws but also for protecting the interests of Dalits on a permanent basis.
Publication Date: 1/1/2007