Since Independence, the Indian government has taken significant legal initiatives to address discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the country. These initiatives aim to protect the rights and welfare of ST communities and uplift them from marginalization.
- Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006: This legislation recognizes and secures the land and forest rights of forest-dwelling STs and other traditional forest dwellers. It empowers these communities to access and manage forest resources, protecting their traditional way of life and livelihoods.
- Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989: This Act is crucial in preventing and addressing atrocities committed against STs. It provides legal safeguards and provisions to punish crimes like assault, rape, and economic exploitation specifically targeted at STs. Special courts are established for the speedy trial of such offenses.
- Affirmative action and reservations: The Indian government has implemented reservation policies for STs in education, employment, and political representation to ensure their inclusion and provide them with equal opportunities.
The legal initiatives taken by the Indian government since Independence, such as the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act of 2006 and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, are vital steps in addressing discrimination against STs. Along with affirmative action and reservations, these initiatives play a crucial role in promoting the rights, welfare, and empowerment of ST communities in India