The state Home department decided to set up special courts that will expedite trial in cases of atrocities on Dalits.
Home Minister R.R. Patil said conviction rates in these cases are as low as 3 per cent according to the National Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission. “We have written to the Law and Judiciary department to help us set up special courts for these cases,” Patil said in the legislative Council.
Shiv Sena legislator Neelam Gorhe raised the question quoting the recent Bombay High Court judgement commuting the death sentence awarded to the six convicts in the Khairlanji massacre to life imprisonment.
Gorhe said the victims had approached the police before the murders but the police refused to file a case under the Atrocities Act. The state had identified 22 problem areas including delay in registering complaints and non-cooperation of witnesses.
Sena legislator and Leader of the House, Diwakar Raote alleged that some people misuse the Act by lodging false complaints.
“The Act is meant to protect Dalit rights and if there is an individual case (of misuse) we will look into it,” Patil said. “But there is no question of making changes in the Act.”