SC/ST Act misused: Govt
The Centre on Monday told the Lok Sabha there have been cases of misuse of a key law meant to prevent atrocities against Dalits and tribals.
In response to a question, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment D Napoleon said that there were 6,564 false cases in 2008 across India under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, called the PoA Act.
This Act provides for a sentence of up to five years for atrocity committed or humiliation heaped on a Dalit, and provides for the setting up of special courts for trial of cases.
"Under the caption, 'cases declared false on account of mistake of fact or law', 6,564 cases pertaining to atrocities against Scheduled Castes, during 2008, have been mentioned," Napoleon said. He, however, said there was no proposal to seek amendments in the law.
Of these, 2287 false cases came from one state: Rajasthan. Andhra Pradesh followed at 1,577 false cases. Uttar Pradesh, the state with the largest Dalit population (21 per cent of the state's 160-70 million), was third with 843 false cases.
Punjab - the state with the highest proportion of SCs at 29 per cent of the population - has had just 52 false cases registered in 2009. Delhi is the last in the list with three cases in 2008.
However, Dalit groups have complained that atrocities on Dalits were going unchecked.
On April 20, the National Coalition for Strengthening of PoA Act, complained in a report: "The law machinery refuses to register the crimes under the provisions of this Act. Data from 1995 to 2007 show that at the end of the trial only 4.6% of the cases brought to the court in a year (2007) materialised in conviction. Only 93 crimes are registered a day. The registration is minuscule as against the violence occurring..."