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Why we must welcome SC’s direction on prevention of misuse ST/SC Act

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Supreme Court of India, on 20th March 2018, issued several directions to prevent misuse of ST/SC Act.

Basically, Supreme Court issued 4 major directions [1]:

1. There is no absolute bar against grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act if no prima facie case is made out or where on judicial scrutiny the complaint is found to be prima facie mala fide (By issuing this direction, the honourable court approved view taken by Gujarat High Court).

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2. In view of acknowledged abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Atrocities Act, arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the S.S.P. which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded. Such reasons must be scrutinized by the Magistrate for permitting further detention.

3. To avoid false implication of an innocent, a preliminary enquiry may be conducted by the DSP concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the Atrocities Act and that the allegations are not frivolous or motivated.

4. Any violation of direction (iii) and (iv) will be actionable by way of disciplinary action as well as contempt (direction (iii) and (iv) are point number 2 and 3 mentioned above).

What is ST/SC Act?

To say it in the most simple terms, ST/SC act is an extremely powerful tool for the members of belonging community which grants protection and assure their well-being. To read about this act in detail, click Here

What made Supreme Court to issue guidelines on prevention of misuse of ST/SC Act?

The massive misuse of this act made court to issue such guidelines. Supreme Court on paragraph 22 of the judgement said “It was, thus, submitted that above judgments are merely illustrations to show that the abuse of law was rampant.” Supreme court in its judgement even cited several observations of High courts which reflects how ST/SC law is misused.

What is the evidence of any misuse of ST/SC Act?

The evidence of its misuse is the data produced by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

There are misuses of many other acts, why ST/SC Act is so special?

This question is extremely important.

1. The misuse of ST/SC Act is more than misuse of any other Major Act.

2. But the most important reason behind why this ST/SC is different and special from any other act is, explained by Supreme Court itself on paragraph 49 of the judgement: “If a person is accused having committed murder, dacoity, rape, etc., he can pray for anticipatory bail under Section-438 of the Cr.P.C. on the ground that he is innocent and has been falsely involved, but if a person alleged to have committed an offence under the Atrocities Act, cannot pray for an anticipatory bail because of the bar of Section-18 of the Act, and he would get arrested. This is the reason for the authorities to guard against any misuse of the Provisions of the Atrocities Act.”

What data says? And how do we understand it?

The NCRB data is alarming and easy to understand.

Let’s take for example, the NCRB data of 2016, which speaks of how members “Schedule Caste” community used ST/SC Act (1+2) [2]:

The total number of cases for trials in various Courts (in 2016) for “crimes committed against Schedule Caste” was 144387.

Out of which, 15087 cases were disposed off in the respective year.

Now it’s extremely shocking that out of 15087 cases, people were Acquitted/Discharged in 10802 cases. This means that the innocent people were dragged into court in 71.5% of the cases. Isn’t it absolute misuse of the Law? Yes, it is.

Now let’s take NCRB data of 2016 and study how people of Schedule Tribe community used ST/SC Act (1+2) [3]:

Out of 3022 cases which were disposed off in various courts of the country, it was found that people in 2293 cases were acquitted/discharged, which means that innocent people in 75.8% of the cases were falsely accused by people of Schedule Tribe community.

To conclude 2016:

In the year of 2016, people of Schedule Caste made false allegations in 71.5% of the cases & people of Schedule Tribe made false allegations in 75.8% of the cases involving ST/SC Act (1+2)

Now let’s examine NCRB data of 2015:

Here is how people of Schedule Caste used ST/SC Act (1+2) in 2015 [4]:

Various courts in our nation disposed off 15723 cases related to ST/SC act in 2015, it was found that out of 15723 cases, people in 11024 cases were acquitted/discharged.

Here is how people of Schedule Tribe used ST/SC Act (1+2) in 2015 [5]:

Various court disposed off 3555 cases in 2015, out of that, people involved in 2760 cases were acquitted/discharged.

To conclude 2015:

In 2015, people of Schedule Caste made wrong allegations against innocent people in 70.1% of the cases and people belonging to Schedule Tribe made false allegations against innocent people in 77.6% of the cases involving ST/SC Act (1+2).

Now let’s example NCRB data of 2014:

Here is how people of Schedule Caste used ST/SC Act (1+2) [6]:

Out of 17407 cases which were disposed by various Courts, people involved in 11911 cases were acquitted/discharged.

Here is how people of Schedule Tribe used ST/SC Act (1+2) [7]:

Out of 3291 cases which were completed by several courts of the country, it was found that people involved in 2226 cases were acquitted/discharged.

To conclude 2014:

People of Schedule Caste made false allegations against innocent people in 68.4% of the cases dealing with ST/SC Act (1+2). And people of Schedule Tribe made false allegations against innocent people in 67.6% of the cases dealing with ST/SC Act (1+2).

Important Note: When it’s comes to the data of “Disposal of Crimes Committed Against ST/SC Cases by Courts” we don’t get separate data of those cases where people were ‘Acquitted’ and ‘Discharged’, we get the combined data of Acquitted and discharged cases. This is because there are very rare cases when people gets discharged”.

Now let me share another very shocking NCRB data with you:

If we combine the number of innocent persons those who were acquitted) who were falsely accused by members of ST+SC community under ST/SC Act (1+2) in 2014+2015+2016, then the number we get is: 79588

This simply means that 79588 innocent people were falsely accused by members of ST+SC community under ST/SC Act (1+2) within 3 years (2014+2015+2016).

And out of those 79588 people, 1766 were females.

Just imagine the magnitude of pain and disgrace these 79588 people would have went through because of false accusations under ST/SC Act!

And let me put one more fact on the table, the number of those innocent people who were falsely accused by members of ST/SC community will go further up if I add even those cases where ST/SC’s withdrawn their complaints and those cases where police disposed off their cases.

As you have read above, within the scale of just 3 years, around 80000 people were troubled because of misuse of ST/SC Act. Now tell me, was it unfair of Supreme Court to issue certain directions to prevent misuse of ST/SC Act? Absolutely no! In fact, in my view, it was the duty of court to issue certain directions to restrict misuse of ST/SC Act.

Was that fair of Modi Government to file a review petition?

Well, my answer is, a big NO. Instead of scoring the so-called “Dalit Vote-bank”, Modi Government should have gone through data and made a right choice of welcoming these directions issued by Supreme Court. And by not doing so, the government is sacrificing wellness of all Non-ST/SC communities which maybe troubled extensively by just a false allegation by any member of ST/SC community.

Last Remarks:

Dear readers, I have provided references of all my claims and you can verify them. But, please note that when you will cross-check my claims with original data, you may find certain difficulties because the “statistic table” which carry all this data was created little differently in 2014-15 and then in 2016. So in case of any query, feel free to contact me at: sankalppandey2012@gmail.com

Reference:

[1]: Supreme Court Judgement, DR. SUBHASH KASHINATH MAHAJAN VERSUS THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND ANR., pp.88-89

[2]: Crimes in India 2016, Statistics, NCRB, pp. 302-303

[3]: Crimes in India 2016, Statistics, NCRB, pp.346-347

[4]: Crimes in India 2015, Statistics, NCRB, pp.249-250

[5]: Crimes in India 2015, Statistics, NCRB, pp.281-282

[6]: Crimes in India 2014, Statistics, NCRB, pp.234-235

[7]: Crimes in India 2014, Statistics, NCRB, pp.266-267

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