Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955

 
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[Act, No. 22 of 1955]

[8th May, 1955]

Preamble

An Act to prescribe punishment for the 1[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:-

Footnote:

  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 called 1[the Protection of Civil Rights Act], 1955.

    (2) It extends 2to the whole of India.

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

    Footnotes:

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

  3. 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).

  4. 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].

    Footnotes:

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

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

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

  8. 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 religion 1[***] 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-course 2[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 religion 1[***] 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.

    Footnotes:

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

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

  11. 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...

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