K’taka HC pulls up state govt for delays in investigating SC/ST Act cases

The court sought several details from the state to check the implementation of the provisions of the Act

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The Karnataka High Court has asked the state government to clarify the reasons for the delay in investigating and filing of chargesheet in cases registered under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act [Atrocities Act].

This direction came in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Committee for Monitoring and Strengthening SCs/STs in Karnataka seeking directions to ensure proper implementation of the Act and Rules in the state.

LiveLaw reported that to deal with the issue of such inordinate delay, the court suggested the state government conduct regular training courses for investigating officers and Public prosecutors appointed under the Atrocities Act. The bench said “State will place on record details of training programs organized for them. Perhaps this will be one step which will ensure that the investigation and trials are conducted in a better fashion.”

Further, the court has also directed the Registrar General of the High Court to submit a report on the status of the proposal submitted to it for setting up additional special courts and the vacancy position in the cadre of district judges and steps taken to fill up the vacancies as well as details of training workshop, if any, for judicial officers who are in-charge of courts under the Atrocities Act.

The court also suggested the Registrar to issue a circular to all special courts under the Atrocities Act, inviting attention of judicial officers to the timelines fixed for speedy trial under the Atrocities Act, especially section 14. Section of the Act mandates the state government to set up special courts for speedy trials under the Act, “Special Court.—For the purpose of providing for speedy trial, the State Government shall, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify for each district a Court of Session to be a Special Court to try the offences under this Act.”

Directions to the state

After the state government submitted that out of 35,091 cases between 2015-2019 charge sheets have been filed in 6451 cases, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi pointed out that “Rule 7 (2) provides that charge sheet shall be led within a period of 60 days. The state shall clarify whether the investigating officers have submitted any explanation for delay in investigation. The State government will have to take a call why there is a gross delay in filing charge sheets.”

The court also directed the state government to place on record data regarding the number of meetings held of the State Level Vigilance and Monitoring committee along with copies of the minutes of the meeting of last 2 years’ meetings.

It further asked the state to place on record the contingency plan as per Rule 15 and compliance of rule 12(4) which requires the District Magistrate or the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to provide immediate relief in cash or in kind or both to the victims of atrocity, their family members and dependents.

Court’s observations

The bench observed, “This is not an adversarial litigation. Judicial notice will have to be taken of the fact that even several years after the Constitution is adopted and after the Atrocities Act came into force in the year 1989, there are several cases happening across the country of Atrocities within the meaning of Section 3 of Atrocities act. Therefore, it is all the more necessary for the state to implement provision of this Atrocities Act and said rules. Entire machinery for ensuring implementation in its true letter and spirit has been provided under the Act and said rules the only question is of activating the said machinery, for optimum results,” reported LiveLaw


The court directed that the compliance reports from the Registrar as well as the state government be filed within 4 weeks. The matter will be heard on October 15.

Parliamentary answer on atrocities

Meanwhile, The Ministry of Home Affairs, submitted data related to cases registered under Crime/Atrocities against Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes during 2014 to 2018, as collated by the National Crime Records Bureau. This data was submitted in response to a question raised by Rajya Sabha MP, KK Ragesh of CPI(M) asking state wise data on atrocities on SCs and STs in the last 5 years.

Per the data, the number of registered cases of crimes/atrocities against SCs and STs has seen a marginal rise over the years. While the number of cases of crimes against SCs was 40,401 in 2014, the number marginally increased to 42,793 till 2018. Similarly, cases of crimes against STs were 6,827 in 2014 and increased marginally to 7,125 in 2018 and again dropped in 2018 to 6,528.

In 2018, Uttar Pradesh ranked highest in crimes against SCs with 11,924 cases followed by Bihar with 7,061 cases. Further, Madhya Pradesh ranked highest in crimes against STs in 2018 with 1,868 cases followed by Rajasthan with 1,095 cases.

The parliamentary answer may be read here.


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