Madurai

Dalits suffer as police close cases as ‘mistake of facts’

A majority of Dalit victims continue to suffer in the hands of custodians of law.

In a startling revelation, sought by Evidence, a Madurai-based non-governmental organisation, through the Right To Information Act, it has come to light that at least 30 per cent of the complaints lodged by Dalits in police stations in the State have been ‘closed’ by the police themselves in the name of mistake of facts (MF), mistake of law (ML), action dropped (AD) and undetected (UN), making use of the provisions in the laws.

The NGO had sought details from as many as 190 police stations on the number of complaints received between January 2010 and March 2013 from the oppressed classes in the society and the current status of the petitions.

According to A. Kathir, Executive Director of Evidence, the data gathered from the police department suggested that in 30 per cent of the complaints, the investigating officers had cited ‘mistake of facts’ as the reason for closing the petitions and hence ‘action dropped.’

There appears to be a uniform pattern followed by the investigation agency, especially against complaints from Dalit women who had levelled charges against dominant forces of having harassed them.

Instead of conducting enquiries and registering cases against the accused, the police had shown more interest in compromise and settlement.

Forced for compromise

“According to our inquiries with the victims, they were either forced to come to the compromise table. In many other cases, the petitioners were not even informed about the case being dropped…” he charged.

In Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur districts, the investigating officers had closed a third of the cases under the above clause.

The petitions submitted by women under Domestic violence Act and under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act of 1989 too did not got any justice, Mr. Kathir said.

Relief for accused

As a result, a meagre number of cases alone, which reached the corridors of judiciary, had been taken up, but there too, the accused got relief due to lack of evidence gathered by the police as a part of the probe.

In a bid to prevent such acts of the police, the government should consider formation of a panel of advocates who could look into the complaints and check the background and the reasons given by the police before a case was closed as ‘mistake of fact’ or ‘action dropped,’ Mr. Kathir said.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 6:14:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/dalits-suffer-as-police-close-cases-as-mistake-of-facts/article7203618.ece

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