Rajya Sabha

August 9, 2018

Abir Ranjan Biswas speaks on The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018

Abir Ranjan Biswas speaks on The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018


Sir, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak, Sir.

Sir, I will first begin by contextualising this Bill. First, I would say that the proposal, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, I feel that this has not born out of what the government actually feels about the SCs and the STs. Rather this is a compulsion for them. Why Sir? This has not been born out of the fact that the Government’s genuine concern, had it been there, as one of the previous ministers has spoken, surely we would have had an Ordinance in this regard. Since we did not have Ordinance, it proves that the genuinity of the feelings is fake.

Secondly I would say Sir, it is a product of necessity, because Sir, as we know there were statewide agitations and nationwide agitations. Only after nine people were killed and multiple people injured after the much-awaited Supreme Court judgement, only after which it took them so long to bring this Bill. Sir, it is only the pressure from the opposition and alliance partners, we know that has compelled the government to bring this Bill.

Conviction rate of crimes, if we see, for crimes against SCs and STs is in a very dismal state. Firstly, Sir, according to the NCRB( National Crime Records Bureau) data, the conviction rates has dropped sharply from 38 per cent in 2010 to 16 per cent in 2016. For crimes against STs, it is at a figure of 26 per cent in 2010 to 8 per cent in 2016.

Now, Sir, most deplorably in the year 2016, only 1.4 per cent of all crimes against the SCs had trial that ended in court convictions. And for STs this had even dismal figures – not even 1%, it amounted to only 0.8%. So, this shows a very very sorry figure and we definitely need to take steps in that direction and I think this is one of the steps which should have been taken. So, we are supporting the Bill surely.

Now, again Sir, the Supreme Court has made lodging of an FIR even more difficult after this pronouncement. As it is we have such low conviction rates, and added to this, if these are the procedures to follow, then it makes it much more difficult. Also Sir, the Supreme Court have singled out only this Bill. Why Sir? We have a number of Bills… we have a number of laws for the protection of women. We often come across news that they are being misused. But Sir, even it is misused we have to find a way out and then provide protection.

Sir, if there is a headache, surely we will not cut our heads off; we will administer medicines and in this case, I support inserting Section 18 ‘A’.