The ministry of social justice and empowerment has withdrawn its cabinet note on proposed amendments to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to rectify what it said were clerical errors.
The note was withdrawn last week and sources said the proposed amendments are unlikely to be taken up in this weeks Cabinet meeting.
The official stand on the deferment,though,is that the Bill was not to be taken up because the minister concerned Kumari Selja could not attend the Cabinet meeting due to prior commitments.
It was only after the note on amendments had been listed in the Cabinet agenda that the social justice ministry woke up to the fact that from a long list of offences in the Bill,two had been inadvertently deleted section 3(1) ix and 3(1) x in chapter II,where atrocities are defined.
Section 3(1) ix deals with a person who gives any false or frivolous information to any public servant and thereby causes such public servant to use his lawful power to the injury or annoyance of a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.
Section 3(1)x deals with the a person who intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view.
The other mistake was minor in comparison. When the Bill was first drafted,the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill,2013,was yet to be passed. Hence,references in it are to the 1993 Bill. That too will now be rectified.
These errors,officials cla-im,were discovered after the draft had been circulated. So,the Cabinet was requested to defer discussion on it. The social justice ministrys withdrawal of the draft comes not long after the law ministry was forced to withdraw its constitutional amendment Bill on judges appointment from RS.