Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
I want to know if this act is applicable against who disrespecting own family members who is come under Scheduled Cast or Scheduled Tribe itself.
Though act says that it's applicable if disrespecting one or it's family members.


Article 3 of the law states some of the the prohibited acts. However, subsections (1) limit the application of the law, stating "Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe", which means that the restrictions only apply to those who are not a member of an SC or ST. The listed acts are not prohibited in the case of a Sentinelese person is forced by another Sentinelese person to eat an obnoxious substance, regardless of whether the two people are related. Moreover, because the law is stated as exempting any member of a SC/ST, a Toda may force a Sentinelese person to eat an obnoxious substance without violating the law. However, a Tamil person may not do so.

Assuming in a given case that the family member is not a member of an SC/ST, then we have to turn to the nature of the prohibited acts. "Disrespecting" a person is pretty open-ended: certainly forcing a person to eat an obnoxious substance is one way of disrespecting them. Normal usage of "disrespect" would limit that term to actions like insulting. The Act probits force-feeding, excreting, stripping, dispossessing from land, enslaving, interfering with voting, vexatious litigation, false reports etc. Item (x) identifies "intentionally insult[ing] or intimidat[ing] with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view", which might qualify (the law does not say that the "public view" must be composed of non-SC/ST persons, so local humiliation would count). This is the closest that one can come to a prohibition against "disrespecting".

The 2014 Amendment

(u) by words either written or spoken or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will against members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes;

(v) by words either written or spoken or by any other means disrespects any late person held in high esteem by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes;

As you can see, (v) has limited applicability. Promoting feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will goes beyond simple disrespect.

In short, in some instances, a prohibited act may constitute disrespecting, but not all acts of disrespecting are prohibited. Moreover, the actor would have to be outside the SC/ST part of the population. There is no "family members are exempt" exemption to the legal requirements, and the "not SC/ST" exemption grants immunity to any SC/ST member, and does not grant immunity to a member of an OBC.

  • I had asked cause someone who is SC itself intentionally insulting it's sibling and always looking for occasions to insult and the way of insulting. So Is that person applicable for sc/st atrocity? – Swapnil Nov 10 '18 at 17:17
  • As I understand, if sibling A is a member of an SC, then sibling B is also, therefore A and B may legally insult each other. – user6726 Nov 10 '18 at 17:40
  • What do you mean legally? – Swapnil Nov 11 '18 at 4:16
  • It is legal for A to insult B, and vice versa. – user6726 Nov 11 '18 at 5:23
  • 1
    The very top, where a member of an SC/ST is not subject to the Act. The Act only forbids certain things; that which is not forbidden is allowed. – user6726 Nov 11 '18 at 14:38

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