The position of schedule caste and schedule tribe is always a question mark for
the society .being a developing country we are saying that we are giving an
equal status to them as compared with other caste but in reality, it is not like
this. In modern time also they are facing problem but we can say that the extent
of suffering ness is less as compared to previous time. For improving their
conditions government are taking various steps like specific laws are being made
for them, commissions were made only for their betterment and by means of
reservation also, the government is trying to improve their condition.
Specifically, Our Constitution guarantees justice and equality of opportunity
to all its citizens. It also recognizes that equal opportunity implies a
competition between equals, and not ‘un-equals’. Recognizing the inequality in
our social structure, the makers of the Constitution argued that weaker sections
have to be dealt with on a preferential footing by the state. A special
responsibility was, thus, placed upon the state to provide protection to the
weaker sections of society.
Accordingly, the Constitution provided for protective discrimination under
various articles to accelerate the process of building an egalitarian social
order In the research paper I just explained the condition of schedule caste and
schedule tribe and what are provisions available to them under the constitution
of India. These provisions are just like a helping hand for them to improve
their condition. When all the sections of people developed then only our country
will become a developed country.
The Dalits are Caste traditional India’s principal category of social ordering
and control is the most exhaustive and of noxious of all known exclusionary
systems. The Hindu social order, particularly its main pillars, the caste
system, and untouchability presents a unique case. As a system of social,
economic and religious governance, it is founded not on the principle of the
liberty (or freedom), equality and fraternity, the values which formed the basis
of universal human rights, but on the principle of inequality in every sphere of
life. The social order is based on three interrelated elements, namely,
predetermination of social, religious and economic rights of each caste based on
birth; the unequal and hierarchical (graded) division of these rights among
castes; and provision of strong social, religious and economic ostracism
supported by social and religious ideology to maintain the order. Among the
Backward Castes, ScheduledCastes are socially, economically, politically,
religiously, and culturally oppressed.In the past, many Scheduled Castes
embraced Christianity during the British rule in India, these converts were
given free food, clothes, and education by the missionaries. Many of them got
good educations and jobs.Some made an attempt, in the 19th century, to
disassociate themselves from the traditional callings of the community. They
began to imitate the dress and rituals of the Upper Castesin order to avoid
ill-treatment, Scheduled Castes have often preferred to change their religion.
With the legacy of Dr. B R Ambedkar, the Indian constitution guaranteed to all
citizens the fundamental rights and equal protection before the law. It provides
a number of safeguards to Scheduled Castes to ensure their all-round development
and protection against all kinds of the discriminations in India. But most of
the provisions of the constitution have remained only on paper because their
implementation has been faulty, half-hearted and inadequate and inequality,
discrimination, exclusion, and stigmatization can jointly contribute to the
utter marginalization in India. They account for 2 percent of Tamilnadu’s
population, and the Socio-economic and Caste Census has now found that Dalits
households in rural Tamil Nadu touch 25.55 percent. However, Dalits in the state
continue to be a receiving end; and there seems to be no in atrocities against
them. “Historically, the political discourse in Tamil Nadu revolved around the
Brahmins versus non-Brahmins question. Now, it has become Dalits versus non-Dalits.
Ø Article 1,2 of UDHR and ARTICLE 3, 5,6 of ICESCR provide for equality and
rights for all. The state should provide forthe enjoyment of all economic,
social and cultural rights.
Ø Article 23 UDHR and Article 7 ICESCR: Equality in employment and prohibition
of discrimination in pay and working condition.
Ø Article 25 and 26 UDHR state should provide for the basic necessity of all.
Ø Article 11(2): Protection in respect of conviction for offenses.
Ø Article 18 freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and
propagation of religion.
Ø Article 22 protection of interests of minorities.
Ø Article 8 Right to Right
Ø Article 10 ICESCR provide a right to marry and found family by one’s own
Ø Beyond these provisions in the Constitution of India some special provisions
are made for the Scheduled Castes. Article 17 has abolished to the practice of
untouchability. Article 330 and332 gave provided for the reservation of seats to
appointments, Article 338 has made provision for the special officer to
investigate all matters relating to the safeguards for the Scheduled Castes and
Article 46 relates to special care about the educational and economic interest
of the Scheduled Castes.10
Ø National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes: Article 338 of
the constitution requires constitution of the National Commission for Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes for better protection of the rights of the members
of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Ø Caste Disabilities Removal Act 1950: The Act provides that when in a civil
suit the parties belong to different persuasions, the laws of the religions of
the parties shall not be permitted to operate to deprive such parties of any
such parties of any property but for the operation of such laws, they would have
Ø Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955: By this Act, enforcement of any
disability arising out of untouchability has been made an offence punishable in
accordance with the relevant provisions.
Ø The Bonded Labour System (Abolition)Act, 1976
Ø Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989:
An Act to prevent the Commission of atrocities against members of the Scheduled
Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for Constitution of special courts for trial of
such offenses, and to provide relief and rehabilitation to the victims.
Ø Protection of Human Rights Act 1993: The Act provides for the Constitution of
a National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commission, and Human
Rights Courts for better protection of Human Rights.
The above provisions of International Bill of Rights and Indian Constitution
ensure that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes be treated equally and not be
discriminated. It ensures that the state provides for measures to improve
Socio-Economic conditions of SC/ST so that they achieve a minimum standard of
living. The state is to protect Social, Economic and Cultural rights of them.
Honour Killing of Shankar:
The couple fell in love while studying at an engineering college in Palani and
got married around eight months ago. However, the girl’s family tried to take
her away even when she told the police that she had married the man of her own
free will.In a suspected honor killing, family members of a high-caste Hindu
girl sent hired killers to murder her husband, a Dalit, in Tirupur on Sunday.
A gang of unidentified men, armed with hatchets and sickles, rode into
Udumalai pettai town in Tirupur district, waylaid Shankar, 22, and hacked him to
death in broad daylight. The youth died on route to the hospital. His wife
Kausalya, who was with him at the time of the incident, was critically injured
and admitted to the ICU later. In a statement to the police, she blamed her
family members for her husband’s death and told the police that she had
complained about the threat from her family earlier. Chinnasamy, the
father-in-law of V. Shankar (22), the Dalit youth who was hacked to deathin
broad daylight in a suspected honor killing in Udumalpet on Sunday, surrendered
before the Judicial Magistrate Court in Nilakottai, Dindigul district on Monday.
Indra Sawhney v. Union of India
It has been held that caste is the determining factor for classifying a class as
a backward class. However, the court held that the maximum limit of reservation
cannot exceed 50% and there can be no reservation in promotion posts.
The Dharmapuri attacks:
In Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu, an angry mob of approximately 1,000
Vanniyars, a social group who consider themselves ‘superior’ to Dalits in
India’s caste hierarchy, succeeded in looting and torching as many as 400 houses
in three Dalit communities with police remaining as onlookers. The attacks took
place in the wake of an inter-caste marriage between a Vanniyar woman and a
Dalit man. Following the suicide of the woman’s father, the mob ransacked the
villages of Natham, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti over a period of two-three hours.
The inhabitants sought safety in a nearby village. Only when the villages had
already suffered much destruction, did the police move in. Since the incident,
142 suspected attackers have been arrested. There are indications that the
suicide was used as a pretext for carrying out an already planned attack, the
purpose of which may have been to destroy the economic infrastructure of the
Dalit communities. In recent years, the Dalits have become increasingly
assertive, while the Vanniyars appear to have stagnated economically. Prior to –
and following – the incident, political forces in Tamil Nadu that appeal to the
Vanniyar vote made strong anti-Dalit statements. The estimated 1,500 victims of
these attacks have suffered numerous human rights abuses, including violations
of the right to physical security; the right to be free from violence; the right
to housing, the right to marriage on free will; and the right to fair access to
justice. Even though the police knew about the risk of an attack, they did not
take any action to prevent it. Following the incident, three police officials
have been suspended.
Nallampatti Dalits want case registered against upper caste community: (Erode)
Dalit residents of Rice Mill Pudur Colony at Nallampatti on Sunday demanded the
Thingalur police to register a complaint against members of upper caste
community over denial of livelihood for the last one month. The Dalit community
members wanted immediate action on a petition they had submitted a couple of
days back complaining about what they termed as a socio-economic boycott by
upper caste community members. Police officials had reportedly told them that
the case could be registered only after a consultation on the relevant Sections
with legal experts. Police sources said there were complications involved in
registering a case since the upper caste members cannot be intimidated into
providing employment to Dalits in their fields. According to a police official,
the cordiality in the relations between the two communities was being vitiated
by some organizations claiming to champion the cause of Dalits. Ever since a
face-off erupted between the Dalits belonging to Arundathiyar sect and upper
caste members a month back after the death under suspicious circumstances of a
55-year-old Dalit worker Chinnasamy, there has been an uneasy calm in
Nallampatti. A week back, the affected Dalits had submitted a petition to the
district administration pleading for intervention for their economic sustenance,
citing a resolution adopted by upper caste members not to engage for farm work
any Dalit worker from the Rice Mill Pudur locality. They had asked for
interest-free loans with subsidy component as a remedy. Earlier this month, a
team from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) visited the Rice
Mill Pudur locality and held inquiries. The Dalit residents had complained to
the team that Chinnasamy was murdered by an upper caste group over his strident
stand on a PCR (Protection of Civil Rights) case registered in Thingalur police
station. The Dalit residents had also expressed unhappiness over the Police
Department’s handling of the case.
Devasam v. Union of India
The ‘Carry forward Rule’ framed by Central Government was held invalid on the
ground that the power vested in the State Government under Article 16(4)could
not be so exercised as to deny reasonable equality of opportunity in matters of
public employment to members of classes other than backward. In this case the
number of vacancies which came to be reserved by virtue of ‘Carry-Forward Rule’
was nearly 68% of the total vacancies which was unreasonable an hence the rule
was declared invalid.
Attack on Dalits in Coimbatore: National Commission for Scheduled Castes
COIMBATORE: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes on Friday conducted an
inquiry with 29 families who were affected by a caste violence that occurred at
Periya Thadagam in Coimbatore. A report detailing the incident and
recommendations was submitted to the district collector. On September 7, around
30 people were attacked by 17 caste Hindus for refusing to play the jamb, a
musical instrument, during the Vinayaka Chathurthi festival. Six Dalits were
injured and hospitalized. The Thudiyalur police had then registered a case
against 17 caste Hindus but did not arrest them. As per the police records, the
case was registered under sections 147, 148, 341, 294(b), 323 and 324 of the
Indian Penal Code read with Section 3(1) and 3(2) of the SC/ST Amendment Act.
One of the victims, S Nagaraj said for over 15 years, they had been facing such
discrimination in the area. They said they learned to drum and were often called
by the Hindu outfits. "For over three years, we had been playing the instrument
for them during the festival. But this year, we decided to set up a statue at
our temple and refused to play the jamab for them. They initially intimidated us
and then threatened. On September 7, they attacked us and beat us up so badly
that six of us had to be admitted to hospital. But 30 others were badly
injured," he said. The others attacked were identified as M Marudaachalam,
M Poogodi, K Vijaya, M Selvan, and M Subbammal. Chandra Prabha, research officer
of National Commission for Scheduled Caste and S Lister, an investigative
officer of the commission met all the 29 families residing in the village. S
Lister said the government had sanctioned a monetary benefit of Rs 50,000 to the
six families after the FIR was registered. "We have recommended that sections
307 (attempt to murder) and 326 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous
weapons or means) of Indian Penal Code be included in the FIR as they have
mentioned in the FIR that the victims were attacked using wooden logs and iron
rods. If this section is added, a compensation of up to Rs 4 lakh would be
provided to them," said Lister. He further added that the Dalits still felt
unsafe in the area. "They wanted the government to relocate them to some other
place near Thudiyalur and issue them patta," said Lister. Dalit activist
Selvakumar said the Dalits in Periya Thadagam work in brick kilns and were
daily-wage workers. "They do not have any basic amenities and they do not even
have a home of their own. If the government issues patta to them, they will feel
secure," he said. All these have also been included in the recommendations in
Commission for Schedule caste:
Originally Article 338 of the constitution provided for the
appointment of a special officer for scheduled castes to investigate all matter
relating to the constitutional safeguards for the SC to report to the President
on their working. He was designated as the commissioner for SCs and STs and to
report to the president on their working. He was designated as the commissioner
for SCs and STs and assigned the said duty.
In 1978, the government (through a resolution) set up a non-statutory
multi-member commission for SCs and STs; the office of commissioner for SCs and
STs also continued to exist.
In 1987, the government (through another resolution) modified the function of
the function of the commission for SCs and STs.
Later, the 65thconstitutional amendment act of 1990 provided for the
establishment of a high level multi-member national commission for SCs and STs
in the place of a single special officer for SCs and STs. This constitutional
body replaced the commissioner for SCs and STs as well as the commission set up
under the resolution of 1987.
Again, the 89thconstitutional amendment act of 2003 bifurcated the combined
national commission for SCs and STs into two separate bodies, namely, national
commission for scheduled castes (under article 338) and the national commission
for scheduled tribes (under article 338A).
The separate national commission for SCs came into existence in 2004. It
consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, and three other members. They are
appointed by the president by warrant under his hand and seal. Their conditions
of service and tenure of office are also determined by the president.
Traditionally, the different Scheduled Castes were employed in the various types
of occupations and with their varying social and economic positions, were
assigned different ranks in the overall ritual and social hierarchy of the caste
system. One might think of these castes, not as part of the organization of a
village society contrary that the Scheduled Castes were associated in certain
ways with social organization but their touch either with a person or a
commodity belonging to a Caste Hindu was avoided as far as possible. Thus, there
existed strata of castes on the basis of their farness from the clean castes.
What governs the daily life of a Scheduled Caste is discrimination on the basis
of caste manifests itself through visible practices such as a separate drinking
water wells, segregated housing colonies, separate burial grounds, segregated
places of worship, separate seating of children during mid-day meals at school,
denial of taking food from scheduled caste cooks in mid-day meals at schools,
prohibition of dressing like others do, prohibition of intercaste dining and
marriages, or mounting a horse during a wedding, amongst scores of other forms.
Discrimination also manifests itself through non-visible forms in the shape of
caste prejudices that can be heard in the spoken language through idioms and
phrases. The failure of the Indian state and its instruments to cope with the
problems arising in the process of socio-economic change in a society with adult
suffrage and equality of opportunity and status, among other similar objectives
provided in our constitution, has led to rising expectations on the one hand,
and growing consciousness of the exploitation and indignity in social relations,
on the other. Such a combination has inevitably led to strong resentment
expressing itself in violence. Unless these infirmities are removed and progress
made towards the creation of a truly just society and non-exploitative social
order, violence is not only likely to continue but may get aggravated.
SukhadeoThorat(2002), Oppression and Denial: Dalits Discrimination in the
1990s, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.37, No.6,p.573
P.K.Misra(2012), Human Rights Acts, Status and Constitutional Provisions,
Ritu Publications, Jaipur, p.48
Ghanshyam Shah.et.al(2006), Untouchability in Rural India, Sage
Publications, New Delhi, pp.32-33
AIR 1993 SC 477: 1992 Supp.(3) SCC 217
AIR 1964 SC 179, followed in B.N.Tewari v. Union Of India, AIR 1985 SC 1430