Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that no institution or individual can take away the constitutional rights of the marginalised, PTI reported. He said the government had taken steps to strengthen the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and claimed that the law had not been diluted.
“I want to assure the House the protection given under the Constitution to SC/ST persons cannot be taken away by any institution or any individual,” Singh said during the Question Hour.
Singh said the government has set up special exclusive courts to deal with matters under the law as it felt only special courts were not sufficient. About 194 such courts have been set up, he pointed out. “With the establishment of special exclusive courts, the conviction rate will improve,” he added.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir said special exclusive courts have been set up in 24 states, while special courts have been established in 30 states.
Ahir quoted data from the National Crime Records Bureau to claim that crimes against people from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had not increased between 2013 and 2016.
Communist Party of India leader D Raja had raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha in connection with the Supreme Court’s March 20 judgement, which prohibited the arrest of a public servant under the SC/ST Act without an inquiry.