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Dalits and the Law

Colin Gonsalves (Author) Girish Agrawal (Author)
Synopsis Dalits, officially known as "Scheduled Castes," constitute more than a fifth of India's population of over one billion. But 55 years after the adoption of the Indian Constitution, which ordains basic human and civil rights, and equality before the law for all citizens of India, discrimination against Dalits continues unabated. Untouchability, violence against individuals and entire communities, atrocities against women, and general discrimination and humiliation in everyday life are a fact of life for Dalits. Violations of the basic rights of Dalits are rarely addressed by courts and the civil administration. To make matters worse, Dalits face social, linguistic and systemic barriers that are virtually impossible to overcome in a hostile legal environment. The entire system works to exclude and ostracize Dalits. This book is an attempt to fulfill the widely felt need by Dalit activists and lawyers for a single published source that brings together the legal materials relevant to the civil and human rights of Dalits. Between the covers of this book is included the text of all important central legislation relating to Dalit rights, most especially the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, as well as extracts from various United Nations reports, conventions and treaties on human rights and racial discrimination. In addition to the text of laws and government rules and orders, the book presents and analyzes important decisions by various High Courts, and by the Supreme Court, on cases arising from violations of the rights of Dalits. The book also provides recommendations for the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and lawyers to enable them to properly prosecute cases when atrocities are committed against Dalits. Although the relevant laws are reproduced, the issues of reservations, forced and bonded labour, child labour, and sexual exploitation of Dalit and tribal women are not discussed or analyzed in this book. Each of these issues of complex and the authors feel that they could not do justice to them along with the other topics covered in the book. The authors hope to do so in subsequent publications. This book will be an excellent source of information for Dalit communities, activists and lawyers to educate themselves about Dalit rights, and to ensure that the state fulfills its duties towards Dalits.
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About the author

Colin Gonsalves

Colin Gonsalves is Executive Director of the 'Human Rights Law Network' (HRLN), of India. He is also a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court in New Delhi, and an activist at heart. He possesses a B.Tech. (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay) and an LLB, (Hinduja College, Bombay).

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Bibliographic information

Title Dalits and the Law
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8189479016
length xiii+414p.; Tables; 23cm.