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Special courts in 3 districts to try crimes against SCs, STs


Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, Jan 20:

Expressing concern over the growing cases of atrocities against SCs and STs, the state government today directed the district Collectors of Bolangir, Cuttack and Baleswar to set up special courts in their districts to minimize the number of pending trials.

“Rs one crore each has been sanctioned towards construction of special court buildings for trial of cases under Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and SCs and STs Prevention of Atrocity Act, 1989. The sanctioned fund should be utilized in 2013-14 financial year without fail,” SC/ST Development Sanjeev Kumar Mishra told the three district Collectors in a letter.

According to sources, during the last 12 years from 2001 to 2012, 24,796 atrocity cases against SCs and STs have been registered in police stations of the state, out of which 18,446 are against SCs and 6,350 against STs.

The nature of atrocities includes 1,002 rape cases (SC574 + ST 428), 264 murder cases (SC 158 +ST106), and rest of the cases are of house burning, arson and other crimes.

The situation of women in general is the worst in the state. It is reported that the number of rape cases registered from 2001 to 2012 is 11,430.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows that 7,780 cases of atrocities against SCs were pending in different courts of the State for trial till 2012. The conviction rate in cases booked under PCR Act and SCs and STs Prevention of Atrocity Act is a paltry 6.3 per cent.

These two laws are primarily designed to address issues of untouchability and caste-based discrimination and atrocities against SCs and STs under Article-15 and 17 of the Constitution of India. While they have provided institutional mechanisms like special courts, legal aid, help line, monitoring committees, relief and compensation and rehabilitation measures, they have failed to protect the vulnerable sections of our society and ensure justice for them.