Law for SCs, STs could be strengthened: PC

Express news service Posted online: Tue Aug 31 2010, 01:32 hrs
New Delhi : Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday called for
institutionalising of oversight mechanisms at the grassroots level to
prevent atrocities against Dalits and tribals even as he asserted that
laws dealing with the issue could be strengthened. Responding to a
debate on increasing atrocities against SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha,
he said regular monthly meetings on the specific issue between the SP,
DM, Public Prosecutor and judges of lower judiciary would go a long
way in curbing such crimes.
Admitting that the number of cases against SCs and STs had increased
in the last three years — from 26,665 cases in 2006 to 29,875 in 2007
and 33,365 cases in 2009 — Chidambaram added that the number of
convictions, on the other hand, was only around 30 per cent.

The disturbing low percentage of convictions, he said, was largely
because of the high number of acquittals that was, in turn, caused by
delay in justice. “The delay has resulted in disappearance of
evidence, which forces witnesses to turn hostile,” he said, adding
that speedy justice was hence required. He added that pendency of
cases was also very high.

Asserting that there had been historical injustice against SCs and STs
because of divisions in society, he said the country should not only
address the atrocities but also the divisions. Without naming the
Mirchpur incident in Haryana where Dalits were allegedly driven out of
the village, he said the recent incident in a “neighbouring state” was
an example of the manner in which the wealthy and powerful inflict
atrocities on these communities and how deeply entrenched the problem


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