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Denotified Tribes in India

Denotified Tribes (DNTs), also known as Vimukta Jati, are the tribes that were originally listed under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, as "Criminal Tribes" and "addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences." Once a tribe became "notified" as criminal, all its members were required to register with the local magistrate, failing which they would be charged with a "crime" under the Indian Penal Code. The Criminal Tribes Act of 1952 repealed the notification, i.e. 'de-notified' the tribal communities. This Act, however, was replaced by a series of Habitual Offenders Acts, that asked police to investigate a "suspect's" "criminal tendencies" and whether their occupation is "conducive to settled way of life." The denotified tribes were reclassified as "habitual offenders" in 1959.

The name "Criminal Tribes" is itself a misnomer as no definition of tribe denotes occupation, but they were identified as tribes "performing" their primary occupation. The first census was in 1871 and at that time there was no consensus nor any definition of what constitutes a "tribe". The terms "tribe" and "caste" were used interchangeably for these communities.

Denotified Tribes in India

  1. 1. DENOTIFIED TRIBES IN INDIA
  2. 2. CONTENTS • Introduction – History • Roots – Caste System In India • DNTs - Meaning • DNTs – Repealed Acts Hereditary Crimes The Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871 Habitual Offenders Act 1952 National Commission for DNTs, Nomadic & Semi Nomadic tribes • Conclusion
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION - HISTORY • Vedic period - crimes and anti-social behaviours. • Manusmriti - there was an age when Dharma prevailed in perfection but gradually Adharma made its headway giving rise to theft, falsehood and fraud. • An ancient sage, Kamandaka wrote about the need of danda (punishment). • Kautilya has said that thieves and robbers are the pests of the society and suggested various steps to eliminate such criminal elements. • Chauryashashtra (Art of Thievery) – one among the 18 Vidyas and 64 Kalas…
  4. 4. CASTE SYSTEM IN INDIA
  5. 5. DENOTIFIED TRIBES - MEANING • DE notified Tribes (DNTs), also known as Vimukta Jati, are the tribes that were originally listed as "Criminal Tribes" and "addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences." • Once a tribe became "notified" as criminal, all its members were required to register with the local magistrate, failing which they would be charged with a "crime" under the Indian Penal Code.
  6. 6. Hereditary Crimes • It is not clearly documented if some particular communities were habitually engaged in crimes. However, the Thugs in medieval India are groups of assassins whose profession was to deceive people and strangle them to death with their Pugree or scarf. • The thugs were brutally suppressed in British India. In 1835, the ‘Thug and Dacoit Dept.’ was created by William Bentinck. A special prison was established at Jabalpur for Thugs. The dept. started disseminating information about the Thugs & at every Police Station the information about the new techniques by the Thugs would be sent. • The caste system led to what may be called a dark chapter for the tribes of India.
  7. 7. The Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871 • After the revolt of 1857, the British needed to take a number of preventive steps to keep India in their clutches. The Law and Order Commission recommended that certain communities in India were professionally criminal and their occupation as well as religion was to commit crimes. On such recommendations, the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871 was enacted. • This extremely oppressive act notified certain communities as criminal tribes. Once a tribe became “notified” as criminal, here is what it meant for its members: Every member of the notified community was forced to register himself/herself at the local police station and had to give ‘Hazri’ (attendance) at a specified time of the day. Their movements were curtailed. They could not shift their residence at will and had to take proper permission before any travel or movement. Severe punishments were put in place for breaking these rules. The local police could easily round up any member of the community upon mere suspicion.
  8. 8. Contd. • First tribe that was notified under this act was Hur of Sindh. Gradually, as many as 198 tribes were brought in its ambit. The act was amended in 1897 and more stringent penalties were brought in. • With idea of their rehabilitation gaining ground, the British Government passed the Criminal Tribes Settlement Act, 1908. This act made provisions for settlements of these communities so that they could be reformed. • This was followed by a modification of the act in 1911 and a major modification in 1923-24 with objective to integrate the criminal tribes with the mainstream society. But these acts did not change the ground realities. • After independence, the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed in 1952. After the repeal, the tribal were denotified and thus were known as De-notified Tribes.
  9. 9. Habitual Offenders Act 1952 • The major difference between the previous act and new act was that the later targeted individuals and not communities. But on ground, the same procedure kept following. The whole communities kept branded or stigmatized on the colonial model. • Whenever a crime took place, the police round up all the male members of the community in the vicinity and apply third degree to extract information. It is being followed even till date. Such communities include Pardhis, Kanjars, Kanjarbhats etc. • The problem is complicated because some members of these communities are still involved in crimes. • The act has attracted criticism from civil society as well as United Nations on the ground that it neglects the principle of the criminal justice system – innocent until. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) had asked India to repeal the Habitual Offenders Act (1952) and effectively rehabilitate the denotified and nomadic tribes, proven guilty.
  10. 10. National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic tribes • There are 1500 Nomadic / Semi-Nomadic Tribes and around 150 Denotified Tribes, which make about 11 Crore of India’s population. • The constitution of India identifies only scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backwards. It does not make any special provision for Denotified tribes as such. • In 2005, the Government of India established the National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) to study various developmental aspects of these Tribes.
  11. 11. The Commission made several recommendations, enumerated as follows: • Reservations, as available to SCs and STs should be extended to Denotified, nomadic or semi-nomadic tribe categories. • Extension of Prevention of Atrocities Act to them. The Act currently applies to only SCs and STs. • Initiation of a special housing scheme to ensure that families are provided with “small pukka houses”. • Provide permanent shelter by helping them settle down as villages. • A Minimum Land Holding Act should be put in place to guarantee land to these tribes in case they want to settle down and engage in agriculture. • Suitable training should be provided to these tribal to develop their existing skills and develop livelihood options.
  12. 12. Conclusion • The DNTs being a transient and mobile group have always remained at the periphery of Indian society and have not received due attention. There is a need to make efforts on a wider scale to bring them back to social mainstream.
  13. 13. REFERENCE •http://www.gktoday.in/issues-around- denotified-nomadic-tribes-dnts-of-india/ •https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denotified_Tribes
  • Profnatarajan

    Feb. 19, 2021
  • SiddharthShukla70

    Jan. 23, 2020
  • HarshVardhanverma2

    Jul. 31, 2018

Denotified Tribes (DNTs), also known as Vimukta Jati, are the tribes that were originally listed under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, as "Criminal Tribes" and "addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences." Once a tribe became "notified" as criminal, all its members were required to register with the local magistrate, failing which they would be charged with a "crime" under the Indian Penal Code. The Criminal Tribes Act of 1952 repealed the notification, i.e. 'de-notified' the tribal communities. This Act, however, was replaced by a series of Habitual Offenders Acts, that asked police to investigate a "suspect's" "criminal tendencies" and whether their occupation is "conducive to settled way of life." The denotified tribes were reclassified as "habitual offenders" in 1959. The name "Criminal Tribes" is itself a misnomer as no definition of tribe denotes occupation, but they were identified as tribes "performing" their primary occupation. The first census was in 1871 and at that time there was no consensus nor any definition of what constitutes a "tribe". The terms "tribe" and "caste" were used interchangeably for these communities.

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