Scheduled Castes & Tribes
- Legal Explainers (25)
Voting and Elections Rights of SC/ST
Interfering with the voting rights of members of SC/STs is punishable with imprisonment between 6 months and 5 years along with a fine.
What is Free Legal Aid?
Free legal aid means providing legal services, free of cost, to certain sections of the society like a beggar, differently-abled person, etc., as and when required. This does not mean that anyone can go and ask for legal aid. You have to be eligible to apply for it.
Legal services are any service with respect to a case or any other legal proceeding before any Court, authority or tribunal. Getting legal advice is also a part of legal service.
Land and Property belonging to SC/ST
It is illegal to take over any land that is owned or controlled by or allotted to any SC/ST member as well as forcing an SC/ST member to leave her home unless it is done legally.
Eligibility for Legal Aid
If you want legal aid, you will need to go to a legal service authority. Once you approach the authority, they will check whether you are eligible for legal aid and the genuineness of your case.
Cruel and Degrading Atrocities against SC/ST
The punishment for committing atrocities against SC/ST is imprisonment between 6 months and 5 years, along with a fine.
Crimes against women belonging to SC/ST groups
It is a crime to sexually touch a woman belonging to an SC/ST without her consent. Practices like devadasi are also illegal.
Costs in Legal Aid
There is no charge for getting an application form for free legal aid. You are not required to spend any money for either getting or submitting the application. Even expenses like Process Fees, Drafting Fees, Typing Fees, Clerkage, etc. are borne by the legal service institutions.
Externment of Persons Committing Atrocities
If a person is likely to commit crimes against members of SC/STs in scheduled areas, Special Courts can have them removed from there.
Where do you go for Legal Aid
You can approach the State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Supreme Court Legal Services Committees and the High Court Legal Services Committees for applying for legal aid.
False case/statements against SC/ST
Filing a false case or giving false information against an SC/ST member resulting in harassment of an SC/ST member is illegal.
How to Apply for Legal Aid?
While applying for legal aid, you will require at least proof of identification and an affidavit proving you are eligible for legal aid.
Reporting a Crime/Atrocity
If a crime has been committed against you due to your identity as member of the SC/STs, you can approach several places for immediate relief.
Help and Support
You can reach out to the National Legal Services Authority to lodge a complaint and track your application. You can also email or call the state-wise authorities (Legal Service Authorities) given below in case of a grievance, or if you need help and support.
Rights of Victims and Witnesses
Certain rights are guaranteed to the victims, their dependents and those acting as witness to the complaints filed under the special law.
If you are not satisfied with the decision given by the relevant Legal Service Authority on your application for a grant of legal aid, an appeal to the Executive Chairman or Chairman of the relevant Legal Services Authority.
Relief and Rehabilitation for Victims of Atrocities
The law requires measures to be taken by the District administration to provide relief and ensure rehabilitation of members of SCs or STs
Denial/Withdrawal of Legal Aid Services
After you fill out your application for legal aid, it can be denied or accepted. It can also be withdrawn at a later stage after the application has been accepted and legal aid has been provided.
Investigation of Cases
Investigation for crime against member of SC/STs reported under special law must be done by a police officer of rank of DSP or above.
Receiving Legal Aid After Application
Once you have submitted your application for free legal aid, it will be scrutinized by the relevant Legal Services Authority to determine what is to be done. Once the scrutiny is complete, information about whether your application has been accepted/rejected will be provided to you within 7 days from the date of the receipt of the application.
FIR, Arrest and Bail
No preliminary inquiry needs to be conducted by investigation officer before filing FIR for a crime committed against a member of SC/STs.
Steps for States to ensure fulfilment of the rights
If you are a victim of atrocities, dependent of the victim or a witness to the atrocities, you are guaranteed certain rights.
Education for Children Belonging to Disadvantaged Groups
It is the duty of the government and the local authorities to ensure that children from disadvantaged groups are not discriminated against and are able to complete their elementary education.
Precautionary and preventive measures to be taken by States
The law requires special measures to be taken by the State Governments to prevent atrocities against members of SC/STs.