Chapter 8. Confronting Marginalisation

Fundamental Rights for Marginalised
• Constitution lays down principles that make our society and polity democratic. They are defined in and through list of Fundamental Rights that are an important part of Constitution. These rights are available to all Indians equally.
• marginalised have used these rights in two ways: first, by insisting on their Fundamental Rights, they have forced government to recognise injustice done to them. Second, they have insisted that government to enforce these laws.
• Article 17 of Constitution states that untouchability has been abolished. This means that no one can prevent Dalits from educating themselves, entering temples, using public facilities. It means that it is wrong to practise untouchability and that this practice will not be tolerated by a democratic government. Untouchability is a punishable crime now.
• Article 15 of Constitution says that no citizen of India shall be discriminated against based on religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
• Constitution provides safeguards to religious and linguistic minorities as part of our Fundamental Rights. They have particularly drawn upon Right to freedom of Religion and Cultural and Educational Rights.
• Cultural and Educational Rights give rights to minority religious groups like Muslims and Parsis to be guardians of content of their culture, as well as right to make decisions on how best this content is to be preserved.

Laws for Marginalised
• There are specific laws and policies for marginalised in our country.
• Both State and Central Governments create specific schemes for implementation in Tribal areas or in areas that have a high Scheduled Caste population.
• reservation policy today is both significant and highly controversial.
• law reserve[s] seats in education and government employment for Dalits and Adivasis.

Manual Scavenging
• Manual scavenging refers to practice of removing human and animal waste/excreta using brooms, tin plates, and baskets from dry latrines and carrying it on head to disposal grounds some distance away.
• A manual scavenger is a person who does job of carrying this filth.
• Manual scavengers are exposed to subhuman conditions of work and face serious health hazards. They are constantly exposed to infections that affect their eyes, skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes [Prevention of Atrocities] Act, 1989
• This Act was framed in 1989 in response to demands made by Scheduled Caste and others that government must take seriously ill-treatment and humiliation of Scheduled Caste and Tribal groups face.
• law came into force on 30th January 1990.
• This Act contains a very long list of crimes.
• Act sets different levels of crime apart. It lists ways to humiliate people that are both physically horrible and morally shameful. It also tries to punish people who force a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to take off his or her clothes, parade him or her naked or with painted face or body, or do anything else that hurts human dignity. It has a list of things that are done to Dalits and Adivasis that take away their few resources or force them to work as slaves.
• Act sets out to punish anyone who wrongfully occupies or cultivates any land owned by, or allotted to a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or gets land allotted to him transferred;
• Act recognizes that crimes against Dalit and Tribal women are of a specific kind and, therefore, seeks to penalise anyone who assaults or uses force on any woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe with intent to dishonour her.

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