Stresses need to train judges, prosecutors, and investigating officials

The National Commission for Schedule Castes (NCSC) has sought the setting up of “exclusive” courts for cases of caste atrocities and gender violence.

The demand comes in the wake of increasing crimes against the Scheduled Castes and the corresponding increase in the number of cases pending in various courts, including the special courts.

“There is a provision of special courts and special laws for hearing such cases and also an instruction that the case will be investigated by senior officials, but all of this exists only on paper. Cases are not filed in police stations unless there is pressure and the disposal rate is slow. In view of the backlog of pending cases across the country, we are demanding exclusive courts that will take up such cases and in a time-bound manner deliver justice,” NCSC Chairman P.L. Punia told The Hindu.

Mr. Punia said these exclusive courts should have a timeline of maximum six months to ensure speedy disposal of cases.

“There is also a need to sensitise and train the judges, the prosecutors and the investigating officials who will be attached to these exclusive courts about caste-based violence and crimes. There is at the moment very little information about the intricacies and finer points of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes [Prevention of Atrocities] Act, and the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955,” he said.

Referring to statistics, Mr. Punia said: “An informal study…has shown that of all cases of crimes against women, 95 per cent are caste-based. We have 10 States which have the worst record of crimes and atrocities against Dalits. In 2009 alone, 33,426 cases of crime against SCs were recorded…and of these 31,222 came from the 10 States of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

“There is an alarming trend that even cases of heinous crimes like murder and rape are not being registered and the affected people have had to approach the court under section 156(3) of the Cr.PC to get their cases registered.

“In 2008, 43 murder and 41 rape cases were ignored and not registered by the police.”

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