Voting and Elections Rights of SC/ST

It is a crime to interfere with the voting rights of members of SCs or STs. If you do any of the following, you will be punished with imprisonment anywhere between 6 months and 5 years along with a fine:

  • Force them to vote in a certain way.
  • Stop them from standing for elections.
  • Stop them from proposing a candidate, or seconding the nomination of another SC/ST candidate.
  • Punish them for voting a certain way.

It is also a crime to interfere with the work of an SC/ST member who is a Panchayat member or holds office in a municipality. Force or intimidation cannot be used to prevent such a person from doing their work.

Land and Property belonging to SC/ST

It is illegal to take over any land that is owned or controlled by, or allotted to any SC/ST member as well as forcing an SC/ST member to leave her home unless it is done legally. 

The takeover of the property is considered illegal if it is done

  • without the agreement of the victim, or
  • by threatening her or someone connected to her, or
  • by making false records.

It is also a crime to similarly illegally deprive an SC/ST member of his property or to prevent him from exercising his rights over any land. This includes:

  • Blocking an SC/ST member from accessing any forest rights under the Forest Rights Act.
  • Blocking rights to any water source or irrigation source.
  • Destroying or taking away crops.

You can face imprisonment of a term of 6 months to 7 years for using fire or bombs to damage homes, religious places and/or property belonging to SC/ST members. You can report such crimes.