‘Mistake of facts’ cited during preliminary investigation

One-third of the cases registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act, 1989 was found to be dismissed citing ‘mistake of facts’ during the preliminary investigation by the police.

The statistics of such cases by the Social Justice and Human Rights wing of both Madurai city police and the district police shows us the current state of affairs.

The city police wing registered 28 cases for the year 2012 and 2013 (till now), out of which 8 are under investigation and 10 are under judicial investigation and 10 cases have been closed citing ‘mistake of fact.’

In the case of district police, from the year 2011 till date, a total number of 302 cases were registered out of which 79 dismissed for the same reason.

The investigation of the pending cases was discussed at the ‘District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee, Adi Dravidar Welfare Department’ meeting held here on Monday.

When asked about increase in the number of cases dismissed citing mistake of facts, Lajapathi Roy, Advocate, Madras High Court, Madurai, said that it indicates that either the investigation was not done properly or the incidents were of false nature.

However, the possibility of the latter remains questionable as the number of cases dismissed was more.

“In most cases the investigation is done by the sub inspector and not a trained deputy superintendent of police as said in the law. This could be one of the major reasons for such dismissals; The Government should take efforts to make sure the Act is implemented and followed properly,” said, Mr.Roy.

The law says that the Investigation Officer (IO) should not be below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police/ Deputy Superintendent of Police.

The IO should be appointed by the Commissioner of Police or Superintendent of Police to expeditiously investigate the case booked under the Act as envisaged under Rule 7(1) of SC/STs (POA) Rules of 1995.

The Law says further that, non-compliance of the above legal requirement would vitiate the entire investigation. Rule 7(2) stipulates that the investigating officer so appointed under sub-rule (1) shall complete the investigation on top priority basis within 30 days.

Since, the investigation needs to be completed within 30 days, the Investigation Officer must ensure that the witnesses to be examined u/s 164 Cr.PC are examined within the stipulated period. Tendency to get 164 Cr.Pc, statement done after months together should be put to an end as such practice is found to be against the interest of the victim / complainant.

New committee

A new committee was constituted by the collector on Monday under Rule 17(1) of the Protection of Civil Rights – Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules 1995. The committee formed previously was dismissed following allegations of corruption three months ago.

After the formation of the committee, the Monday meeting was the first among the once in three months review meeting to discuss the implementation of the provisions of the act, relief and rehabilitation facilities provided to the victims, prosecution of cases under the Act and implementation of the provisions of the Act.