A delegation of the National Commission of Scheduled Castes (NCSC) today met President Ram Nath Kovind and recommended that the government file a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict on the SC/ST Act, saying the order will increase the suffering of victims of atrocities and create problems in securing justice for dalits.
A delegation of the National Commission of Scheduled Castes (NCSC) today met President Ram Nath Kovind and recommended that the government file a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict on the SC/ST Act, saying the order will increase the suffering of victims of atrocities and create problems in securing justice for dalits. The delegation led by Chairman Ram Shankar Katheria also submitted a representation to Kovind in this regard. The Commission said that the people belonging scheduled castes community face problems during the lodging of FIRs , subsequent investigations, and the first hand experience of the members of the panel reveals that there many hurdles for them in getting justice.
“The stark reality on the ground is that the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is very weakly implemented and that in most cases the victims of atrocities are pitted against a system traditionally aligned against them and with an ingrained caste based prejudice against the SCs and STs,” the representation stated. The representation mentioned that the judgement ignores the fact that the rate of crime against the SCs is increasing compared to the rise in population. The number of cases of crime against SCs has risen from 38,564 in 2015 to 40,801 in 2016.
“Dilution of provisions of this special Act is an aspect that needs to be strongly countered. There will consequential delays in implementation of the Act as well as the victims/dependents not getting the help and financial compensation as laid down in the Rules framed under the Act. “All these will lead to an increase in the sufferings of the SC/ ST victims,” the representation stated.
“We also request you to kindly direct the ministries concerned to consult and keep the Commission in the loop regarding the action taken on the above,” it said. Meanwhile, a delegation of NDA MPs from SC/ST communities, led by LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Union Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot, today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the apex court judgement on the Act. While favouring filing of a review plea, Gehlot has also sought the Law Minister’s opinion on the matter.
The Supreme Court, on March 20, diluted stringent provisions mandating immediate arrest under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act. It took note of the rampant misuse of the stringent Act against government servants and held that arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority while that of a non-public servant after approval by the Senior Superintendent of Police which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded. It also said that the reasons recorded must be scrutinised by the magistrate for permitting further detention.