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PROTECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 22 of 1955


  • Schedules
  • Act nº 22 of 1955

Preamble

THE PROTECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS ACT, 1955

[Act, No. 22 of 1955]

[8th May, 1955]

PREAMBLE

An Act to prescribe punishment for the1[preaching and practice of "Untouchability"] for the enforcement of any disability arising therefrom and for matters connected therewith.

B e it enacted by Parliament in the Sixth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--

1. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 2, for "practice of Untouchability" (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called1[the Protection of Civil Rights Act], 1955.

(2) It extends2to the whole of India.

(3) It shall come into force on such date3as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

1. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 3, for "the Untouchability (Offences) Act" (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

2. Extended to Goa, Daman and Diu with modification by Regulation 12 of 1962, section 3 and Schedule; to Dadra and Nagar Haveli by Regulation 6 of 1963, section 2 and Schedule I (w.e.f. 1st July, 1965) and to Pondicherry by Regulation 7 of 1963, section 3 and Schedule I (w.e.f. 1-10-1963).

3. Came into force on 1-6-1955, vide S.R.O. 1109, dated the 23rd May, 1955, Gazette of India, 1955, Extra., Pt. II, section 3.


Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

1 [(a) "civil rights" means any right accruing to a person by reason of the abolition of "untouchability" by article 17 of the Constitution;]

2 [(aa)]"hotel" includes a refreshment room, a boarding house, a lodging house, a coffee house and a cafe;

3 [(b) "place" includes a house, building and other structure and premises; and also includes a tent, vehicle and vessel;]

(c) "place of public entertainment" includes any place to which the public are admitted and in which an entertainment is provided or field.

Explanation--"Entertainment" includes any exhibition performance, game, sport and any other form of amusement;

(d) "place of public worship" means a place, by whatever name known, which is used as a place of public religious worship or which is dedicated generally to, or is used generally by persons professing any religion or belonging to any religious denomination or any section thereof, for the performance of any religious service, or for offering prayers therein, 1 [and includes--

(i) all lands and subsidiary shrines appurtenant or attached to any such place,

(ii) a privately owned place of worship which is, in fact, allowed by the owner thereof to be used as a place of public worship; and

(iii) such land or subsidiary shrine appurtenant to such privately owned place of worship as is allowed by the owner thereof to be used as a place of public religious worship;]

1 [(da) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(db) "Scheduled Castes" has the meaning assigned to it in clause (24) of article 366 of the Constitution;]

(e) "shop" means any premises where goods are sold either whole-sale or by retail or both wholesale and by retail 4 [and includes--

(i) any place from where goods are sold by a hawker or vendor or from a mobile van or cart;

(ii) a laundry and a hair cutting saloon;

(iii) any other place where services are rendered to customers].

1. Inserted by Act 106 of 1976, section 4 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

2. Clause (a) re-lettered as clause (aa) by Act 106 of 1976, section 4 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

3. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 4, for clause (b) (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

4. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 4, for certain words (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 3. Punishment for enforcing religious disabilities

Whoever on the ground of "untouchability" prevents any person--

(a) from entering any place of public worship which is open to other persons professing the same religion1[***] or any section thereof, as such person; or

(b) from worshipping or offering prayers or performing any religious service in any place of public worship, or bathing in, or using the waters of, any sacred tank, well, spring or water-course2[river or lake or bathing at any ghat of such tank, water-course, river or lake] in the same manner and to the same extent as is permissible to the other persons professing the same religion1[***] or any section thereof, as such person,

3[shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one month and not more than six months and also with fine which shall be not less than one hundred rupees and not more than five hundred rupees].

Explanation.-- For the purposes of this section and section 4 persons professing the Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina religion or persons professing the Hindu religion in any of its forms or developments including Virashaivas, Lingayats, Adivassis, followers of Brahmo, Prarthana, Arya Samaj and the Swaminarayan Sampraday shall be deemed to be Hindus.

1 . The words "for belonging to the same religious denomination" omitted by Act 106 of 1976, section 5 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

2 . Inserted by Act 106 of 1976, section 5 (w.e.f 19-11-1976).

3 . Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 5, for certain words (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 4. Punishment for enforcing social disabilities

Whoever on the ground of "untouchability" enforces against any person any disability with regard to--

(i) access to any shop, public restaurant, hotel or place of public entertainment; or

(ii) the use of any utensils, and other articles kept in any public restaurant, hotel, dharamshala, sarai or musafirkhana for the use of the general public or of 1 [any section thereof]; or

(iii) the practice of any profession or the carrying on of any occupation, trade or business 2 [or employment in any job]; or

(iv) the use of, or access to, any river, stream, spring, well, tank, cistern, water-tap or other watering place, or any bathing ghat, burial or cremation ground, any sanitary convenience, any road, or passage, or any other place of public resort which other members of the public, or 1 [any section thereof], have a right to use or have access to; or

(v) the use of, or access to, any place used for a charitable or a public purpose maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public or 1 [any section thereof]; or

(vi) the enjoyment of any benefit under a charitable trust created for the benefit of the general public or of 1 [any section thereof]; or

(vii) the use of, or access to, any public conveyance; or

(viii) the construction, acquisition, or occupation of any residential premises in any locality, whatsoever; or

(ix) the use of any dharamshala, sarai or musafirkhana which is open to the general public, or to 1 [any section thereof]; or

(x) the observance of any social or religious custom, usage or ceremony or 3 [taking part in, or taking out, any religious, social or cultural procession]; or

(xi) the use of jewellery and finery,

4 [shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one month and not more than six months and also with fine which shall be not less than one hundred rupees and not more than five hundred rupees].

2 [Explanation.--For the purposes of this section, "enforcement of any disability" includes any discrimination on the ground of "untouchability".]

1. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 6, for certain words (w.e.f.19-11-1976).

2. Inserted by Act 106 of 1976, section 6 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

3. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 6, for "taking part in any religious procession" (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

4. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 6 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 5. Punishment for refusing to admit person to hospitals, etc.

Whoever on the ground of "untouchability"--

(a) refuses admission to any person to any hospital, dispensary, educational institution or any hostel1[***], if such hospital, dispensary, educational institution or hostel is established or maintained for the benefit of the general public or any section thereof; or

(b) does any act which discriminates against any such person after admission to any of the aforesaid institutions,

2[shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one month and not more than six months and also with fine which shall be not less than one hundred rupees and not more than five hundred rupees].

1 . The words "attached thereto" omitted by Act 106 of 1976, section 7 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

2. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 7, for certain words (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 6. Punishment for refusing to sell goods or render services

Whoever on the ground of "untouchability" refuses to sell any goods or refuses to render any service to any person at the same time and place and on the same terms and conditions at or which such goods are sold or services are rendered to other persons in the ordinary course of business1[shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one month and not more than six months and also with fine which shall be not less than one hundred rupees and not more than five hundred rupees].

1. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 8, for certain words (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 7. Punishment for other offences arising out of "untouchability"

(1)Whoever--

(a)prevents any person from exercising any right accruing to him by reasonof the abolition of "untouchability" under Article 17 of theConstitution; or

(b)molests, injures, annoys, obstructs or causes or attempts to causeobstruction to any person in the exercise of any such right or molests, injures,annoys or boycotts any person by reason of his having exercised any such right;or

(c)by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visiblerepresentations or otherwise, incites or encourages any person or class ofpersons or the public generally to practice "untouchability" in anyform whatsoever; 1 [or]

1 [(d)insults or attempts to insult, on the ground of"untouchability", a member of a Scheduled Caste;]

1 [shallbe punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one month and notmore than six months, and also with fine which shall be not less than onehundred rupees and not more than five hundred rupees].

2 [Explanation I ].--A personshall be deemed to boycott another person who--

(a)refuses to let to such other person or refuses to permit such otherperson, to use or occupy any house or land or refuses to deal with, work forhire for or do business with, such other person or to render to him or receivefrom him any customary service, or refuses to do any of the said things on theterms on which such things would be commonly done in the ordinary course ofbusiness; or

(b)abstains from such social, professional or business relations as he wouldordinarily maintain with such other person.

1 [Explanation II.--Forthe purpose of clause (c) a person shall be deemed to incite or encourage thepractice of "untouchability"--

(i)if he, directly or indirectly, preaches "untouchability" or itspractice in any form; or

(ii)if he justifies, whether on historical, philosophical or religiousgrounds or on the ground of any tradition of the caste system or on any otherground, the practice of "untouchability" in any form.]

1 [(1A)Whoever commits any offence against the person or property of any individual asa repraisal or revenge for his having exercised any right accruing to him byreason of the abolition of "untouchability" under article 17 of theConstitution, shall, where the offence is punishable with imprisonment for aterm exceeding two years, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shallnot be less than two years and also with fine.]

(2)Whoever--

(i)denies to any person belonging to his community or any section thereofany right or privilege to which such person would be entitled as a member ofsuch community or section, or

(ii)takes any part in the ex-communication of such person, on the ground thatsuch person has refused to practice 'untouchability' that such person has doneany act in furtherance of the objects of this Act,

3 [shallbe punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than one month and notmore than six months and also with fine which shall be not less than one hundredrupees and not more than five hundred rupees.]

1.Inserted by Act 106 of 1976, section 9 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

2.Explanationre-numbered as ExplanationI by Act 106 of 1976, section 9 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).

3.Substituted. by Act 106 of 1976, section 9 for certain words (w.e.f.19-11-1976).


Section 7A. Unlawful compulsory labour when to be deemed to be a practice of "untouchability"

1 [7A.Unlawful compulsory labour when to be deemed to be a practice of "untouchability"

(1)Whoever compels any person, on the ground of "untouchability", to doany scavenging or sweeping or to remove any carcass or to flay any animal, or toremove the umbilical cord or to do any other job of a similar nature shall bedeemed to have enforced a disability arising out of "untouchability".

(2)Whoever is deemed under sub-section (1) to have enforced a disability arisingout of "untouchability" shall be punishable with imprisonment for aterm which shall not be less than three months and not more than six months andalso with fine which shall not be less than one hundred rupees and not more thanfive hundred rupees.

Explanation-- For thepurposes of this section, "compulsion" includes a threat of social oreconomic boycott.]

1.Inserted by Act 106 of 1976, section 10 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 8. Cancellation or suspension of licences in certain cases

When a person who is convicted of an offence under section 6 holds any licence under any law for the time being in force in respect of any profession, trade, calling or employment in relation to which the offence is committed, the court trying the offence may without prejudice to any other penalty to which such person may be liable under that section, direct that the licence shall stand cancelled or be suspended for such period as the court may deem fit, and every order of the court so cancelling or suspending a licence shall have effect as if it had been passed by the authority competent to cancel or suspend the licence under any such law.

Explanation--In this section, "licence" includes a permit or a permission.

Section 9. Resumption or suspension of grants made by Government

Wherethe manager or trustee of a place of public worship 1 [or anyeducational institution or hostel] which is in receipt of a grant of land ormoney from the Government is convicted of an offence under this Act and suchconviction is not reversed or quashed in any appeal or revision, the Governmentmay, if in its opinion the circumstances of the case warrant such a course,direct the supension or resumption of the whole or any part of such grant.

1.Inserted by Act 106 of 1976, section 11 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 10. Abetment of offence

Whoeverabets any offence under this Act shall be punishable with the punishmentprovided for the offence.

1 [Explanation.-- A publicservant who wilfully neglects the investigation of any offence punishable underthis Act shall be deemed to have abetted an offence punishable under this Act.]

1.Inserted by Act 106 of 1976, section 12 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 10A. Power of State Government to impose collective fine

1 [10A.Power of State Government to impose collective fine

(1)If, after an inquiry in the prescribed manner, the State Government is satisfiedthat the inhabitants of an area are concerned in, or abetting the commission of,any offence punishable under this Act, or harbouring persons concerned in thecommission of such offence or failing to render all the assistance in theirpower to discover or apprehend the offender or offenders or suppressing materialevidence of the commission of such offence, the State Government may, bynotification in the Official Gazette, impose a collective fine on suchinhabitants and apportion such fine amongst the inhabitants who are liablecollectively to pay it, and such apportionment shall be made according to theState Government's judgment of the respective means of such inhabitants and inmaking any such apportionment the State Government may assign a portion of suchfine to a Hindu undivided family to be payable by it:

Providedthat the fine apportioned to an inhabitant shall not be realised until thepetition, if any, filed by him under sub-section (3), is disposed of.

(2)The notification made under sub-section (1) shall be proclaimed in the area bybeat of drum or in such other manner as the State Government may think best inthe circumstances to bring the imposition of the collective fine to the noticeof the inhabitants of the said area.

(3)(a) Any person aggrieved by the imposition of the collective fine undersub-section (1) or by the order of apportionment, may, within the prescribedperiod, file a petition before the State Government or such other authority asthat Government may specify in this behalf for being exempted from such fine orfor modification of the order of apportionment:

Providedthat no fee shall be charged for filing such petition.

(b)The State Government or the authority specified by it shall, after giving to thepetitioner a reasonable opportunity of being heard, pass such order as it maythink fit:

Providedthat the amount of the fine exempted or reduced under this section shall not berealisable from any person, and the total fine imposed on the inhabitants of anarea under sub-section (1) shall be deemed to have been reduced to that extent.

(4)Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (3), the State Government mayexempt the victims of any offence punishable under this Act or any person whodoes not, in its opinion, fall within the category of persons specified insub-section (1) from the liability to pay the collective fine imposed undersub-section (1) or any portion thereof.

(5)The portion of collective fine payable by any person (including a Hinduundivided family) may be recovered in the manner provided by the Code ofCriminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), for the recovery of fines imposed by aCourt as if such portion were a fine imposed by a Magistrate.]

1.Inserted by Act 106 of 1976, section 13 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 11. Enhanced penalty on subsequent conviction

Whoever having already been convicted of an offence under this Act or of an abetment of such offence is again convicted of any such offence or abetment,1[shall, on conviction, be punishable--

(a) for the second offence, with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months and not more than one year, and also with fine which shall be not less than two hundred rupees and not more than five hundred rupees;

(b) for the third offence or any offence subsequent to the third offence with imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than two years, and also with fine which shall be not less than five hundred rupees and not more than one thousand rupees].

1. Substituted by Act 106 of 1976, section 14, for certain words (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).


Section 12. Presumption by Courts in certain cases

Where any act constituting an offence under this Act is committed in relation to a member of a Scheduled Caste1[***], the Court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that such act was committed on the ground of "untouchability".

1. The words "as defined in clause (24) of article 366 of the Constitution" omitted by Act 106 of 1976, section 15 (w.e.f. 19-11-1976).