BJP-ruled Rajasthan has reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against SCs and STs during 2013-15, followed by poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar, a new government report said, even as the Centre today flagged the issue of poor conviction rates in such cases.
Rajasthan has registered 23,861 cases under the amended Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Act, while UP and Bihar registered 23,556 and 21,061 cases respectively, according to the agenda papers for a meeting of a committee to review the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 held here today.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment observed that during 2013-15, only 43.3 per cent of the total cases registered (13,8077) were disposed of by courts and 25.7 per cent of total cases disposed of by courts (59,779), ended in conviction.
“In certain states, i.e. Andhra Pradesh (6.3 per cent), Gujarat (3.1 per cent), Karnataka (3.5 per cent), Maharashtra (7.6 per cent), Odisha (4.3 per cent), Tamil Nadu (7.5 per cent), Telangana (7.5 per cent) and West Bengal (3 per cent), the conviction rate was in single digit,” the agenda note read.
The committee headed by Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot sought action taken report from state governments to improve the disposal and conviction rates in such cases.
During the meeting, Gehlot pointed out that only 14 states have set up exclusive special courts for speedy trial of cases registered under the PoA Act.
However, he rued there was no information about formation of such courts by 22 states and Union Territories including Delhi, Punjab, Jharkhand, Haryana, Goa, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam etc and urged them to do the needful.
Section 14 of the amended PoA Act provides for establishing of exclusive special courts for one or more districts and where number of cases under this Act is less, specification of Court of Session as a Special Court, with powers to take direct cognisance of the offences under the PoA Act.
The Committee also wanted to know if the relief amount, that has been raised and made between Rs 85,000 to Rs 8,25,000 depending upon the nature of offence, is being given within seven days to the concerned persons as specified in the PoA Rules amended on April 14, 2016.