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No under-reporting of crimes against SCs/STs, police should play more proactive role in investigation: MHA

“The administration and police should play a more proactive role in detection and investigation of crimes against SCs/STs and ensure that there is no under-reporting.”
No under-reporting of crimes against SCs/STs, police should play more proactive role in investigation: MHA

NEW DELHI: Deeply concerned about crimes against weaker sections of society, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to all states and Union Territories (UTs).
Citing suggestions taken in the twenty-sixth national review meeting conducted last month, MHA’s Women Safety Division issued a written advisory to the Chief Secretaries of all states and administrators of all UTs on Friday for the effective implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The twenty-sixth National review meeting of the Committee constituted for effective coordination to devise ways and means to curb offences of untouchability and atrocities against the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and effective implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was held at New Delhi on May 9 to review the implementation and status of the Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act, 1855 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) {POA} Act, 1989.
In the advisory, the MHA mentions that Union Government attaches the highest importance to matters relating to the prevention of crime, and therefore, it has been advising the state governments and UT administrations from time to time to give more focused attention to the administration of the criminal justice system with emphasis on prevention and control of crime including crimes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
“The Government of India is deeply concerned with the crimes against the weaker sections of society, particularly Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and would therefore re-emphasize that urgent action should be taken by the state governments and UT administrations on issues like vigorous and conscientious enforcement of the statutory provisions and existing legislations relating to crimes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes including the Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act, 1955 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and amendments made thereunder from time to time,” says the advisory.
“The administration and police should play a more proactive role in detection and investigation of crimes against SCs/STs and ensure that there is no under-reporting.”
Government must ensure proper enforcement of law and convictions in crimes committed against SCs/STs, said the advisory, adding “enforcement agencies should be instructed in unambiguous terms that enforcement of the rights of the weaker and vulnerable sections should not be downplayed”.
Sensitizing the law enforcement machinery towards crimes against SCs/STs by way of well-structured training programmes, meetings, conferences, workshops and seminars for police personnel and other law enforcement agencies at all levels as well as the other functionaries of the criminal justice system, it suggested.
“Such programmes should be incorporated in the syllabi of various Police Training Centres/ Academies at all levels.”
It also advised special training to police personnel in the effective implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (POA) Act, 1989. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (POA Act) was amended in 2015 to make it more effective.
“New offences such as tonsuring of head, moustache, or similar acts, which are derogatory to the dignity of members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, have been added. The punishments have also been enhanced. Provisions of Special Courts and speedy trial have been added The Act was further amended in 2018. Section 18A has been inserted whereby conduct of preliminary enquiry before registration of FIR, or to seek approval of any authority to arrest an accused is no longer required. The provision of the PoA Act may be implemented in letter and spirit,” it said.
The advisory further directs that the police officials should be directed to apply the “appropriate sections of the law as per the statements of the victims under the above-mentioned Acts and no dilution should be allowed which may help the perpetrators of crimes against SCs/STs; Response mechanism should be set up to promptly deal with incidents of crime against vulnerable, oppressed and deprived sections of society”.
“Government must take concrete steps to increase the awareness within the administration in general and amongst the police personnel in particular, regarding crimes against SCs/STs and take steps not only to tackle such crimes but also deal with them with sensitivity,” mentions the advisory.
It stressed that there should be no delay in the registration of First Information Reports in cases of crimes against SCs/STs; and ensure proper supervision at an appropriate level of cases of crimes against SCs/STs, from the recording of FIR to the disposal of the case by the competent court.
“The delays in the investigation (beyond 60 days from the date of filing of FIR) shall be monitored at the district and State level once a quarter, and wherever required, special DSPs shall be appointed to expedite the process of Investigation,” It said.
The advisory also asked that the authorities concerned in the state governments must ensure proper follow-up of reports of cases of atrocities against SCs and STs received from various sources, including the National Commission for SCs and STs.
Atrocity-prone areas may be identified for taking preventive measures to save life and property of the members of the SC/ST communities. Adequate number of police personnel, fully equipped with policing infrastructure, should be posted in the Police Stations in such vulnerable areas, says the advisory, adding “delay
The trial of cases of crimes against SCs/STs may be reviewed on a regular basis in the monitoring committee and monthly meetings chaired by the district and sessions judge attended by the district magistrate, superintendent of police and public prosecutor of the district.
“The District SPs must ensure timely attendance and protection of all prosecution witnesses including Police Officers and official witnesses for speedy trial of such cases in the trial courts.”
The advisory in the end requested to issue suitable directions to all concerned under intimation to the ministry.

 

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No under-reporting of crimes against SCs/STs, police should play more proactive role in investigation: MHA