The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, 1989

No. 33 OF 1989

[11th September, 1989.]

An Act to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, to provide for Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fortieth Year of the Republic of India as Follows:

Chapter I: PRELIMINARY

1. Short title, extent and commencement
1. This Act may be called the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled extent and Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
2. It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
3. It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the
Official Gazette, appoint.

2. Definitions
1. In this Act unless the context otherwise requires –
a. “atrocity” means an offence punishable under section 3
b. “Code” means the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)
c. “Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes” shall have the mean-ings assigned to them
respectively under clause (24) and clause (25) of article 366 of the Constitution
d. “Special Court” means a Court of Session specified as a Special Court in section 14
e. “Special Public Prosecutor” means a Public Prosecutor specified as a Special Public
Prosecutor or an advocate referred to in section 15
f. words and expressions unsed but not defined in this Act and de-fined in the Code or the
Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) shall have the meanings assigned to them respectively
in the Code, or as the case may be, in the Indian Penal Code.
2. Any reference in this Act to any enactment or any provision thereof shall in relation to an area
in which such enactment or such provision is not in force, be construed as a reference to the
corresponding law, if any, in force in that area.

CHAPTER II: OFFENCES OF ATROCITIES

3. Punishment for offences of atrocities
1. Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe –
i. forces a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to drink or eat any inedible
or obnoxious substance
ii. acts with intent to cause injury, insult or annoyance to any member of a Scheduled
Caste, or a Scheduled Tribe by dumping excreta, waste matter, carcasses or any other
obnoxious substance in his premises or neighbourhood;
iii. forcibly removes clothes from the person of a member of a Schedul-ed Caste or a
Scheduled Tribe or parades him naked or with painted face or body or commits any
similar act which is derogatory to human dignity
iv. wrongfully occupies or cultivates any land owned by, or allotted to, or notified by any
competent authority to be allotted to, a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled
Tribe or gets the land allotted to him transferred;
v. wrongfully dispossesses a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe from his
land or premises or interferes with the enjoyment of his rights over any land, premises
or water
vi. compels or entices a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to do ‘begar’
or other similar forms of forced or bonded labour other than any compulsory service for
public purposes imposed by Government
vii. forces or intimidates a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe not to vote
or to vote to a particular candidate or to vote in a manner other than that provided by
law
viii. institutes false, malicious or vexatious suit or criminal or other legal proceedings
against a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe
ix. gives any false or frivolous information to any public servant and thereby causes such
public servant to use his lawful power to the injury or annoyance of a member of a
Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe
x. intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled
Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view
xi. assaults or uses force to any woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled
Tribe with intent to dishonour or outrage her modesty
xii. being in a position to dominate the will of a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a
Scheduled Tribe and uses that position to exploit her sexually to which she would not
have otherwise agreed
xiii. corrupts or fouls the water of any spring, reservoir or any other source ordinarily used
by members of the Scheduled Castes or a Scheduled Tribes so as to render it less fit for
the purpose for which it is ordinarily used
xiv. 
denies a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe any customary right of
passage to a place of public resort or obstructs such member so as to prevent him from
using or having access to a place of public resort to which other members of public or
any section thereof have a right to use or access to
xv. forces or causes a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to leave his
house, village or other place of residence
shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but
which may extend to five years and with fine.
 Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe –
i. gives or fabricates false evidence intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be
likely that he will thereby cause, any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled
Tribe to be convicted of an offence which is capital by the law for the time being in
force shall be punished with imprisonment for life and with fine; and if an innocent
member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe be convicted and executed in
consequence of such false or fabricated evidence, the person who gives or fabricates
such false evidence, shall be punished with death
ii. gives or fabricates false evidence intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be
likely that he will thereby cause, any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled
Tribe to be convicted of an offence which is not capital but punishable with
imprisonment for a term of seven years or upwards, shall be punishable with
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may
extend to seven years or upwards and with fine
iii. commits mischief by fire or any explosive substance intending to cause or knowing it
to be likely that he will thereby cause damage to any property belonging to a member
of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, shall be punishable with imprisonment for
a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to seven years
and with fine
iv. commits mischief by fire or any explosive substance intending to cause or knowing it
to be likely that he will thereby cause destruction of any building which is ordinarily
used as a place of worship or as a place for human dwelling or as a place for custody
of the property by a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, shall be
punishable with imprisonment for life and with fine
v. commits any offence under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) punishable with
imprisonment for a term of ten years or more against a person or property on the
ground that such person is a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or
such property belongs to such member, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life
and with fine
vi.
knowingly or having reason to believe that an offence has been committed under this Chapter,
causes any evidence of the commission of that offence to disappear with the intention of
screening the offender from legal punishment, or with that intention gives any information
respecting the offence which he knows or believes to be false, shall be punishable with the
punishment provided for that offence; or
vii. being a public servant, commits any offence under this section, shall be punishable with
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to the
punishment provided for that offence

4. Punishment for neglect of duties
Whoever, being a public servant but not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe,
wilfully neglects his duties required to be performed by him under this Act, shall be punishable with
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year.

5. Enhanced punishment for subsequent conviction
Whoever, having already been convicted of an offence under this Chapter is convicted for the second
offence or any offence subsequent to the second offence, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a
term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to the punishment provided for that
offence.

6. Application of certain provisions of the Indian Penal Code
Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the provisions of section 34, Chapter III, Chapter IV, Chapter
V, Chapter VA, Section 149 and Chapter XXIII of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), shall, so far as
may be, apply for the purposes of this Act as they apply for the purposes of the Indian Penal Code.

7. Forfeiture of property of certain persons
1. Where a person has been convicted of any offence punishable under this Chapter, the Special
Court may, in addition to awarding any punishment, by order in writing, declare that any
property, movable or immovable or both, belonging to the person, which has been used for the
commission of that offence, shall stand forfeited to Government.
2. Where any person is accused of any offence under this Chapter, it shall be open to the Special
Court trying him to pass an order that all or any of the properties, movable or immovable or
both, belonging to him, shall, during the period of such trial, be attached, and where such trial
ends in conviction, the property so attached shall be liable to forfeiture to the extent it is
required for the purpose of realisation of any fine imposed under this Chapter.

8. Presumption as to offences
In a prosecution for an offence under this Chapter, if it is proved that –
a. the accused rendered any financial assistance to a person accused of, or reasonably suspected
of committing, an offence under this Chapter, the Special Court shall presume, unless the
contrary is proved, that such person had abetted the offence
b. a group of persons committed an offence under this Chapter and if it is proved that the offence
committed was a sequel to any existing dispute regard-ing land or any other matter, it shall be
presumed that the offence was committed in furtherance of the common intention or in
prosecution of the common object.

9. Conferment Powers
1. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code or in any other provision of this Act, the State
Government may, if it consider it necessary or expedient so to do –
a. for the prevention of and for coping with any offence under this Act, or
b. for any case or class or group of cases under this Act,
in any district or part thereof, confer, by notification in the Official Gazette, on any officer of the
State Government, the powers exercisable by a police officer under the Code in such district or
part thereof or, as the case may be, for such case or class or group of cases, and in particular,
the powers of arrest, investigation and prosecution of persons before any Special Court.
2. All officer of police and all other officers of Government shall assist the officer referred to in subsection (1) in the execution of the provisions of this Act or any rule, scheme or order made
thereunder.
3. The provisions of the Code shall, so far as may be, apply to the exercise of the powers by an
officer under sub-section (1).

CHAPTER III: EXTERNMENT

10. Removal of person likely to commit offence
a. Where the Special Court is satisfied, upon a complaint, or a police report that a person is likely
to commit an offence under Chapter II of this Act in any area included in ‘Scheduled Areas’ or
‘tribal areas’, as referred to in article 244 of the Constitution, it may, by order in writing, direct
such person to remove himself beyond the limits of such area, by such route and within such
time as may be specified in the order, and not to return to that area from which he was directed
to remove himself for such period, not exceeding two years, as may be specified in the order.
b. The Special Court shall, along with the order under sub-section (1) communicate to the person
directed under that sub-section the grounds on which such order has been made.
c. The Special Court may revoke or modify the order made under sub- section (1), for the reasons
to be recorded in writing, on the representation made by the person against whom such order
has been made or by any other person on his behalf within thirty days from the date of the
order.

11. Procedure on failure of person to remove himself from area and enter thereon after
removal
1. If a person to whom a direction has been issued under section 10 to remove himself from any
area –
a. fails to remove himself as directed; or
b. having so removed himself enters such area within the period specified in the order,
otherwise than with the permission in writing of the Special Court under sub-section (2), the
Special Court may cause him to be arrested and removed in police custody to such place outside
such area as the Special Court may specify.
2. The Special Court may, by order in writing, permit any person in respect of whom an order
under section 10 has been made, to return to the area from which he was directed to remove
himself for such temporary period and subject to such conditions as may be specified in such
order and may require him to execute a bond with or without surety for the due observation of
the conditions imposed.
3. The Special Court may at any time revoke any such permission.
4. Any person who, with such permission, returns to the area from which he was directed to
remove himself shall observe the conditions imposed, and at the expiry of the temporary period
for which he was permitted to return, or on the revocation of such permission before the expiry
of such temporary period, shall remove himself outside such area and shall not return thereto
within the unexpired portion specified under section 10 without a fresh permission.
5. If a person fails to observe any of the conditions imposed or to remove himself accordingly or
having so removed himself enters or returns to such area without fresh permission the Special
Court may cause him to be arrested and removed in police custody to such place outside such
area as the Special Court may specify.

12. Taking measurements and photographs, etc. of persons against whom order under
section 10 is made
1. Every person against whom an order has been made under section 10 shall, if so required by
the Special Court, allow his measurements and photographs to be taken by a police officer.
2. If any person referred to in sub-section (1), when required to allow his measurements or
photographs to be taken resists or refuses to allow his taking of such measurements or
photographs, it shall be lawful to use all necessary means to secure the taking thereof.
3. Resistance to or refusal to allow the taking of measurements or photographs under sub-section
(2) shall be deemed to be an offence under section 186 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
4. Where an order under section 10 is revoked, all measurements and photographs (including
negatives) taken under sub-section (2) shall be destroyed or made over to the person against
whom such order is made.

13. Penalty for non compliance of order under section 10
Any person contravening an order of the Special Court made under section 10 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine.

CHAPTER IV: SPECIAL COURTS

14. Special Court For the purpose of providing for speedy trial, the State Government shall, with the concurrence of the
Chief Justice of the High Court, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify for each district a Court of Session to be a Special Court to try the offences under this Act.

15. Special Public Prosecutor For every Special Court, the State Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify a Public Prosecutor or appoint an advocate who has been in practice as an advocate for not less than seven years, as a Special Public Prosecutor for the purpose of conducting cases in that Court.

CHAPTER V: MISCELLANEOUS

16. Power of State Government to impose collective fine
The provisions of section 10A of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 (22 of 1955) shall, so far as may be, apply for the purposes of imposition and realisation of collective fine and for all other matters
connected therewith under this Act.

17. Preventive action to be taken by the law and order machinery
1. A District Magistrate or a Sub-divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate or any
police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police may, on receiving
information and after such inquiry as he may think necessary, has reason to believe that a
person or a group of persons not belonging to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes,
residing in or frequenting any place within the local limits of his jurisdiction is likely to commit
an an offence or has threatened to commit any offence under this Act and is of the opinion that
there is sufficient ground for proceeding, declare such an area to be an area prone to atrocities
and take necessary action for keeping the peace and good behaviour and maintenance of public
order and tranquility and may take preventive action.
2. The provisions of Chapters VIII, X and XI of the Code shall, so far as may be, apply for the
purposes of sub-section (1).
3. The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make one or more schemes
specifying the manner in which the officers referred to in sub-section (1) shall take appropriate
action specified in such scheme or schemes to prevent atrocities and to restore the feeling of
security amongst the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

18. Section 438 of the code not to apply to persons committing an offence under the Act
Nothing in section 438 of the Code shall apply in relation to any case involving the arrest of any person on an accusation of having committed an offence under this Act

19. Section 360 of the Code or the Provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act not to apply to
persons guilty of an offence under the Act The provisions of section 360 of the Code and the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 (20 of 1958) shall not apply to any person above the age of eighteen years who is found guilty of having committed an offence under this act.

20. Act to override other laws
Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding
anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force or any custom or usage or any instrument having effect by virtue of any such law.

21. Duty of Government to ensure effective implementation of the Act
1. Subject to such rules as the Central Government may make in this behalf, the State
Government shall take such measures as may be necessary for the effective implementation of
this Act.
2. In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, such measures
may include –
i. the provision for adequate facilities, including legal aid to the persons subjected to
atrocities to enable them to avail themselves of justice
ii. the provision for travelling and maintenance expenses to witness-es, including the
victims of atrocities, during investigation and trial of offences under this Act
iii. the provision for the economic and social rehabilitation of the victims of the atrocities
iv. the appointment of officers for initiating or exercising supervision over prosecutions for
the contravention of the provisions of this Act
v. the setting up of committees at such appropriate levels as the State Government may
think fit to assist that Government in formulation or implementation of such measures
vi. provision for a periodic survey of the working of the provisions of this Act with a view to
suggesting measures for the better implementation of the provision of this Act
vii. the identification of the areas where the members of the Schedul-ed Castes and the
Scheduled Tribes are likely to be subjected to atro-cities and adoption of such measures
so as to ensure safety for such members
3. The Central Government shall take such steps as may be necessary to co-ordinate the measures
taken by the State Governments under sub-section (1)
4. The Central Government shall, every year, place on the table of each House of Parliament a
report on the measures taken by itself and by the State Governments in pursuance of the
provisions of this section.

22. Protection of action taken in good faith No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Central Government or against the State Government or any officer or authority of Government or any other person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act.

23. Power to make rules
1. The Central government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for carrying out
the purposes of this Act.
2. Every rule made under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each
House of Parliament, while it is in session for a total period of thirty days which may be
comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the
session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses
agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be
make, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the
case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice
to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.

V. S. RAMA DEVI,
Secy. to the Govt. of India.

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