Thursday, December 15, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Huge gaps exist in implementation of SC/ST atrocities prevention Act, Gujarat HR Commission told

Huge gaps exist in implementation of SC/ST atrocities prevention Act,
Gujarat HR Commission told

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Top human rights NGO Navsarjan Trust, in a representation to the
Gujarat Human Rights Commission (GHRC), has found huge gaps in the
implementation of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 in the
state. Handed over to the GHRC recently, the representation
particularly says that "Section 3 establishes the different offences
and punishments that should be carried out for crimes committed
against members of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes" and "there
are 22 different types of crimes defined under this section." For
example, sub-section 3(1)11 is for anyone who 'assaults or uses force
to any woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe with
intent to dishonour or outrage her modesty'.

Even then, "in more than 90% of the cases we have found that the
police registers the crime only under section 3(1)10 and neglects the
other sections specific to the crime. This clearly shows the lack of
knowledge of police authorities about the Act", the representation

Recommending to start from the bottom of the police system and working
up through the system to educate officials about this Act, the
representation says, "The State Ministry of Home should take
appropriate action to regulate the proper implementation of Section 3
of the SC/ST Act, 1989. In many cases it has been found that when a
complainant (from SC/ST community) goes to a police station to lodge a
complaint, the police official there postpones or refuses to lodge

Also, in many serious cases they don't lodge an FIR against anyone,
but simply file the victim under 'incidental death' in murder cases,
'missing' in kidnapping cases and 'accident' in cases of serious
injury. They accept an application from the victim without filing an
FIR and make false promises of investigating. The victim, however,
doesn't know that only an FIR makes it compulsory for the police to
investigate and report to the judicial magistrate of the area. Due to
this, cases are not investigated and the accused get away scot free.

Further, Section 4 of the Act clearly establishes the punishment for
government servants that neglect or wilfully neglect his/her duty.
"However, we have noted that the State Ministry of Home has taken such
provisions very lightly. Therefore, they have failed to ensure the
proper implementation of the Section 4 of the SC/ST Act, 1989", the
representation insists.

Then, Section 7 of the act establishes that after perpetrators are
successfully convicted for their actions against Scheduled Castes or
Scheduled Tribes, their moveable and non-moveable assets can be seized
by the Special Court (Special court is defined in Section 14 of the
SC/ST Act-1989). "However, we have not found a single case over the
last decade in which the assets of the perpetrators have been seized
by the Special Courts in Gujarat. This option should be considered by
the Special Courts to further discourage the perpetrators and others
from committing crimes against the members of SC and ST communities",
the representation says.

Referring to the "ground reality of continuous failure in implementing
the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocity) Act,
1989 in Gujarat State", the representation says, "The Act was passed
with a unanimous goal to prevent any kind of atrocity over the
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community person but with great
disappointment we let you know that the act has not been properly
imbibed by the government authorities. The lethargic attitude of the
judicial as well of the administrative system has lead to a condition
worse than ever before, kindly peruse the attached report which proves
our allegation. "

It says, "Section 10 establishes that a Special Court, if satisfied,
on a complaint or a police report, that a person is likely to commit
an offence against a member of SC/ST community, can ask that person to
leave the specified area for a specific period of time to avoid the
crime. However, this provision has hardly been utilized by any law
enforcement agency in Gujarat, resulting in high rates of violence
towards the Scheduled Castes within the state. We hereby request the
State Ministry of Home to come forward and to issue a necessary
notification or government resolution and ensure the implementation of
these provisions."

Further, Section 14 provides for the formation of Special Courts to
adjudicate cases of violations against members of Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes. However, only 10 of the 26 districts in Gujarat
have established such Special Courts. Furthermore, these Special
Courts that have been built are in poor physical shape with inadequate
basic facilities such as insufficient water and electricity supply and
other such infrastructural deficiencies. It has also been reported
that in some Special Courts, there are no spaces for the victims to

Even as recommending that each district in Gujarat should be equipped
with such Special Courts", the representation demands, "Additionally,
more than 5,000 of the previous cases involving the SC/ST Act, 1989
that have been closed due to lack of investigation by the Deputy
Superintendent of Police and which led to the acquittal of a lot of
guilty people should be reopened into these Special Courts as per
section 173(8) of CrPc, and the process of filing of charge sheets
should be completed as soon as possible."

The provisions under sub-section 4(2) of the SC/ST (PoA) Act Rules,
1995 require the appraisal or evaluation of the Special Public
Prosecutor twice a year by the District Magistrate and the Director of
prosecution (As per Section 15 of the SC/ST (PoA) Act, 1989, the
prosecutor, with not less than 7 years of experience, should be
especially appointed to adjudicate the legal proceedings). "We have
noted that only the Ahmedabad District Magistrate has exercised this
appraisal of the Special Public Prosecutor, which occurred only as a
result of several reminders given to him. These gaps demonstrate that
the District Magistrates have not been keen to perform their duty to
ensure the rights of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe victims", the
representation says.

Section 16 establishes a 'collective fine' against people committing
atrocities against members of the SC and ST communities as per section
10A of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955. "However, to date
this sub-section has not been utilized to penalize any accused members
of the upper-castes. As a result of such gaps, we have seen an
increased number of group and collective acts of atrocity against
communities of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes", the
representation says.

Then, Section 17 of the Act establishes that if the DM, SDM or any
other Executive magistrate, has reason to believe that a person or
group of persons living in or frequenting a place are likely to commit
an atrocity against the members of SC/ST, they may declare that area
to be prone to atrocities and take preventive action against
atrocities. "Over the last two decades 11 of the 26 districts in
Gujarat have been declared prone to atrocities against Dalits but no
preventive action has been taken (Rural Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Junagadh,
Banaskantha, Kheda, Amreli, Rural Rajkot, Kutch, Surendranagar, Rural
Vadodara, Bharouch). These very districts have been hosts to numerous
atrocities and the accused have been getting away without any penalty
in most cases. Preventive actions such as cancellation of arms
licenses, banishment of people likely to commit atrocities, police
protection to the needy, etc need to be taken immediately", the
representation insists.

Section 21 establishes that the State Government needs to take
measures for the effective implementation of this act. These measures
include providing legal aid to the victims, taking care of travelling
and maintenance expenses during trials, social and economic
rehabilitation of the victims, etc. "It has been noticed that in most
cases the State Government has not taken these measures to ensure an
effective and speedy trial and further rehabilitation of the victims",
the representation reads.

Moreover, in 1999, The Gujarat State Government had passed Government
Rules (GR) resolution which permitted an officer ranking below DySP to
investigate a case of atrocities against the people of SC/ST. "Due to
this resolution there were 7,468 cases in which all the guilty had
been acquitted because the defence lawyers claimed that this
resolution was violating section 7 of the SC/ST (PoA) Act, Rules,
1995. Thus, before the resolution was cancelled in 2007 by the High
Court, the victims in all these cases were denied justice", the
representation says.

The Law Ministry has to create a panel of senior lawyers to look after
the penal proceeding as per rule 4(1) of the SC/ST (PoA) Act, Rules,
1995. "However, there is no such functioning committee in any
Gujarati district. Moreover, the District Magistrate or the Director
of prosecution has to review the performance of Special Public
Prosecutors twice a year as per Rule 4(2). However, this evaluation is
never conducted and hence, the performance of these SPPs is not kept
under check. As per rule 4(4), the DM and the Officer-in-charge of
prosecution need to submit a monthly report about the cases registered
under this Act to the Director of Prosecution. This is rule is never
followed either", the representation says.


Get all ZESTCaste mails sent out in a span of 24 hours in a single mail. Subscribe to the daily digest version by sending a blank mail to, OR, if you have a Yahoo! Id, change your settings at

On this list you can share caste news, discuss caste issues and network with like-minded anti-caste people from across India and the world. Just write to

If you got this mail as a forward, subscribe to ZESTCaste by sending a blank mail to OR, if you have a Yahoo! ID, by visiting

Also have a look at our sister list, ZESTMedia:! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> Your email settings:
Individual Email | Traditional

<*> To change settings online go to:
(Yahoo! ID required)

<*> To change settings via email:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive