Lok Sabha passes bill amid Congress boycott

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to strengthen provisions to prevent atrocities against scheduled castes and tribes amid a boycott of the house by the Congress and some other opposition parties.

The bill seeks to add new offences by amending the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Members of the Congress and other opposition parties whose names were called out by the chair to move amendments were not present in the house.

Apart from the Congress, members of the Communist Party of India, CPI-Marxist, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Janata Dal (United), Indian Union Muslim League, Aam Aadmi Party, Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party boycotted the proceedings to protest against the speaker’s decision on Monday to suspend 25 Congress parliamentarians for disrupting parliament.

Replying to a debate on the bill, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said there was no need to add provisions in the bill against false complaints as such provisions existed under the Indian Penal Code.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014 was then passed by the house by a voice vote.

The bill seeks the substitution of Section 4 of the Act of 1989, which relates to punishment for neglect of duties by public servants not belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

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