New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Monday unanimously passed the SC/ST amendment Bill.The Rajya Sabha passed the constitutional amendment Bill granting constitutional status to National Commission of Backward Classes.
Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot thanks all members for supporting the Bill. He recalls Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first words, that the government will be for the Dalits and backward class people. When the Supreme Court questioned reservation in promotion, government filed a review petition and ensured reservation continues, he says.
He repeats what he said on reservation in Rajya Sabha during a discussion on the NCBC Bill.
On why delay in bringing the Bill, Mr. Gehlot says the cabinet decided we would file a review petition first. If you still think the Bill is late, you could have brought it in the last 10 years, Mr. Gehlot says pointing at the opposition.
He says 30 States and UTs have dedicated courts to tackle cases pertaining to the SC/ST Act. The Bill proposes compensation to victims, he says. They will be given within seven days of registration of FIR. The Bill will increase the conviction rates too, he adds.
He says some members have brought amendments. They are not needed since the Bill takes care of all concerns of the members, he adds.
He lists out the developments and benefits given to the SCs and STs during the NDA government’s past four years of rule.
Lakshadweep member Mohammed Faizal says nearly 3000 children are facing “atrocity” because they are not categorised tribals. This is because the children have to be born in Lakshadweep to tribal parents.
Lok Sabha continues to discuss amendments to SC/ST Act. The House has extended its sitting to another one hour.
Mamtaz Sanghmitra (Trinamool) says the discrimination against Dalits dates back to the time of Ekalavya of the Mahabharata.
Kamala Patle (BJP) says the SC/ST were unhappy with the Supreme Court ruling and the amendment would assure them of justice.
N.K. Premachandran (RSP) terms the SC judgment as “shocking” and says the Bill is the “need of the hour.” it is the right of an investigating officer to arrest a person and the judgment took away this right, he says.
Ram Chandra Hansdah (BJD) says he supports the Bill because 38 per cent of Odisha’s population are SC and STs. He seeks to know the number of government servants prosecuted under the Act.
Sitaram Naik (TRS) recalls how six tribals were massacred in Andhra Pradesh on the same day in 1991. Even though several arrests were made, none were convicted, he claims. Even though there is a sizable tribal lawmakers, not much has been done for the community he says.