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Prevention is better than cure: Implementation status of preventive measures under SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989

Prevention is better than cure: Implementation status of preventive measures under SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989

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Atrocities on the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes take various forms – both visible and invisible. However it is the visible forms of atrocities that are defined and included in Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. 

Visible forms of atrocities are taking place in rural India, and invisible forms of atrocities take place in urban life; the invisible atrocities are more dominant form of atrocity, this kind of atrocities frequently take place in the universities and other educational institutions. 

Human rights organizations including dalit organizations mostly concentrate on the protection of dalit human rights after atrocities have already taken place. No people’s organization or government authorities are showing Interest in implementation of preventive measures.

The invisible atrocities on the dalits can be prevented through the implementation of preventive provisions in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act 1989.

17. Preventive actions that could be taken by the law and order machinery:

(1) A District Magistrate or a Sub-divisional Magistrate or any other Executive, Magistrate or any police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police May, on receiving information and after such inquiry as he may think necessary, has reason to believe that a person or a group of persons not belonging to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes, residing in or frequenting any place within the local Limits of his jurisdiction are likely to commit an offence or have threatened to commit any Offence under this Act and is of the opinion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding, declare such an area to be an area prone to atrocities and take necessary action for keeping the peace and good behavior and maintenance of public order and tranquility and may take preventive action.

(2) The provisions of Chapters VIII, X and XI of the Code shall, so far as may be, apply for the purposes of sub-section (1).

(3) The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make one or more schemes specifying the manner in which the officers referred to in sub-section (1) shall take appropriate action specified in such scheme or schemes to prevent atrocities and to restore the feeling of security amongst the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

There are 195 districts in 12 states– Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh– which have been declared as atrocity-prone and listed by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. 

National Dalit Forum sent applications under Right to Information Act to these 195 districts magistrates to know the statues implementation of preventive measures under the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, in March 2010.

The questions asked under Right to information are

1) Provide the list of atrocity prone areas that identified in your district

2) What are the preventive measures initiated in the atrocity prone areas

3) provide the information of financial resources to meet the expenses of the preventive measures, also provide the information of where the expenses have booked, in which budget code and account number

ü Out of 195 applications, we received 150 acknowledgements 45 districts magistrates may have managed not to send acknowledgements

ü About 20 applications were rejected saying that the preventive measures under Scheduled Castes Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act 1989 will not come under them

ü One district magistrate from Thamilanadu replied to the above three questions as “NIL”

ü 80 applications forwarded to the concerned district social welfare officers saying that it is the matter related to social welfare department

ü 50 applications forwarded to the concerned districts superintendent of police saying that the matter relating to the law and order

ü 150 district magistrates supplied irrelevant information and 40 district magistrates supplied partly relevant information

ü 150 district magistrates replied in their local language like Thamilanadu magistrates replied in Thamil, Karnataka magistrates replied in Kannada, Gujarat magistrates replied in Guajarati, kerala magistrates replied in Malayalam, Rajasthani magistrates replied in Rajasthani …… it is a trick of the authorities to confuse the applicant, when the application submitted in English they have to reply in English only

ü It is really a pathetic situation that none of the district magistrate felt responsible to implement the preventive measures under Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) act 1989

ü Except 10 districts magistrates all have tried to escape from their liability of providing information/and implementing the preventive measures

ü It seems Many of the district magistrates may not aware of Preventive measures under Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) act 1989

ü The district magistrate is being the chairmen of district level vigilance and monitoring committee under Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) act 1989, is responsible to identify the atrocity prone areas and also initiate preventive measures

ü It is clear that the administration and police are totally insensitive towards the protection of Scheduled caste and scheduled tribes people’s human rights

ü Not only the police and executive but also judiciary totally insensitive towards the protection of human rights

ü There are many examples even in the sensational cases like Khairlange of Maharashtra, Karamchedu and Chundur in Andhra Pradesh the judges convicted the culprits not according to the SC ST Act but under the general IPC sections

ü The atrocities on the SC ST students in universities and educational institutions are invisible, that is the reason many SC ST Students are committing suicides all over country

ü From 2005 onwards in IIT Kanpur it self 11 Dalit students committed suicides

ü Within tow years 2008-2009 5 Dalit Students have committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh

ü The number of suicides will be very high; there are many unreported suicides in all over India

ü Even sufficient evidence is available to punish the culprit in the cases of atrocities the police and judiciary not showing any interest to punish the perpetrators of atrocities

ü But in many cases the police falsely implicating the SC ST people to protect real culprits, Sathyambabu is an outstanding example of such type, he was falsely implicated by the police in the Ayeshameera murder case and falsely punished by the district court without any evidence to protect the real culprits who are politically influenced

ü It is the time for the human rights defenders to concentrate on the invisible atrocities on the dalits

ü Also to pressurize the government authorities to implement preventive provisions under SC ST PO Act to protect Dalit Human rights

B.Karthik Navayan

Programme Officer

National Dalit forum

from here– 

Prevention is better than cure, implementation status of preventive measures under SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989

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