Guidelines to Police Officers Investigating cases under SC/ST (POA) ACT, 1989 & PCR ACT, 1955


Article 17 of the Constitution of India has abolished the practice of untouchability in all forms To give effect to this Article. Parliament enacted the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 and later renamed it as The Protection of Civil Rights’ Act, 1955 and notified the Rules in 1977 to implement the Provisions of the Act Later, the Parliament passed the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which enable the police authorities for taking specific measures to prevent the atrocities to carry out the provisions of this Act, the Government of India notified the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules in the year 1995. In view of the above, the Police Officers have been entrusted with the noble duty to implement all the provisions of the enactments and in right spirit. In this regard, certain measures which are needed to be taken by the Police Officers, who directly or indirectly deal with the incidents of atrocities or practice of untouchability in their respective jurisdiction are as under
1) To identify the atrocities prone areas / villages in order to enable themselves to take adequate preventing measures well in time.
2) They should visit the identified areas and review the Law and Order situation from time to time.
3) To cancel the Arms licenses of the persons who have misused a licensed firearms for committing atrocities or are likely to commit atrocities.
4) To organize Awareness Campaign in the identified areas to educate the SCs/STs about their rights and protections available to them under different enactments.
5) To deploy pickets in such identified areas, where there is an imminent danger of reprisal against SCs/ STs.
6) In extreme situations Arms licenses may be recommended to be issued to the SCs/ STs to enable them to protect their lives and properties.
7) Any complaint of atrocity on SCs/STs by forcing them to eat any inedible substance, causing insult or annoyance, parading them naked / with painted face, wrongful occupation / dispossession from their land, house etc.. forcing bonded labour, use of force in casting of vote, institution of false cases, intentional insult in public view, outraging modesty of SC/ST women, refusing access to a place of public resort, expelling SCs/STs from their houses / village etc. are covered under section 3 (1) of the SCs / STs (POA) Act Whereas, some of offences like fabricating false evidence, mischief by fire, attempt to cause disappearance of the evidence etc. for which the SC/ST person is likely to be convicted of an offence which is not capital but punishable with imprisonment of (07) years or upwards, would fall u/s 3(2) of the SCs/STs (POA) Act.
8) All the cases of atrocities on SCs/STs by non SCs and STs should be registered under the provisions of the SCs/STs (POA) Act, 1989 only, while the cases of enforcing any disability on account of preaching and practicing untouchability should be booked under the provisions of PCR Act. All the concerned officers should clearly understand the provisions of these two enactments and their applicability.
9) If any offence under sec. 3 of SCs/STs (POA) Act is committed by a public servant, he is liable to be prosecuted u/s 3(2) (VII).
10) On receipt of a representation / compliant pertaining to any offence under the provisions of thee SCs / STs (POA) Act either in writing or orally at the Police Station, the Officers -in-charge shall register a case, as provided under Rule 5(1) of the POA Rules of 1995 r/w 154 Cr.PC and if the Officer — in — charge of the Police Stations fails to do so, it amounts to “willful neglect of duty” which in itself is an offence u/s 4 of the said Act.
11) While registering FIR. it should be ensured that correct Sections and Sub Sections under the appropriate Act are applied Any attempt of burking or minimizing the gravity of the offence shall be treated as “Willful neglect of duty ”.
12) All the cases of bogus caste certificates should be booked u/s 420 IPC.
13) The lOs should refrain from becoming parties to the compromises / out of court settlements in cases of specific accusations as defined under the Acts.
14) All the Cases referred u/s 156 (3) Cr.PC. by the court should be promptly registered and the FIR copies should be sent to court and other concerned officers without any delay If there is any dereliction of duty on the part of the IO, he shall be liable for contempt of court and also for Departmental action
15) FIR copy in every case should be sent to the District Magistrate, to enable him to take decision regarding sanction of relief and rehabilitation measures and a copy of the FIR should also be given to the complainant.
16) FIR copy should also be sent to the CP/ SP promptly with a request to appoint the 10 at the earliest, to enable the 10 to commence investigation without any loss of time.
17) The Investigation Officer i.e.an ACP/ DSP has to be appointed by the C.P / SsP. to expeditiously investigate the case booked under (POA) Act. 1989 as envisaged under Rule 7(1) of SCs/STs (POA) Rules of 1995. Non-compliance of the above legal requirement would vitiate the entire investigation.
18) Rule 7(2) stipulates that the investigating officer so appointed under sub-rule (1) shall complete the investigation on top priority basis within thirty days.
19) In case the appointed IO is transferred out, any another Dy SP is to be appointed as IO and it has to be done by issuing a fresh Appointment Order by S P/C P. U/Rule 7(1) of SC/ST (POA) Rules, 1995.
20) On receipt of the appointment order from the SP/C.P the appointed IO should take up investigation from the stage of FIR. If the initial investigation has been done by an incompetent officer, it is an irregular investigation and mere verification of such investigation by the Dy SP is void and irregular under the Law.
21) In case, the incompetent officer has filed the charge sheet after his investigation, it is null and void and hence the specially appointed Dy.SP should seek permission of the court by filling petition u/s 173(8)Cr.PC and proceed with further investigation from the initial stage i.e from the FIR stage after obtaining the permission of the Court.
22) Since, the investigation in cases under POA Act need to be completed within 30 days, the IO must ensure that the witnesses to be examined u/s 164 Cr.PC are examined within the stipulated period. Tendency to get 164 Cr.Pc statement done after months together should be put to an end. as such practice is found to be against the interest of the victim / complainant.
23) The lOs should refrain from getting the statements of witnesses recorded u/s 164 Cr.PC if it is likely to weaken the case of prosecution. As per established Law. such statements only should be got recorded u/s 164 Cr PC which are likely to strengthen the case.
24) In cases of bogus caste certificates, the IO should also invariably investigate into the conduct and character of the certificate issuing / inquiring authorities for heir prosecution if so required and write to the concerned department for initiating
departmental action against the accused officers, while furnishing the relevant material required to be relied upon by the appropriate authority.
25) The IO after recording the statements of witnesses u/s 161 Cr.PC must hand over a copy of the same to the concerned witnesses under acknowledgement on the original copy as it would help in ensuring the truthfulness of the statements and the witness may refer to the same prior to his examination in the court. It would also stop the IOs from doing table investigation and that too at his convenient time.
26) The lOs should not hesitate to arrest the accused promptly when they are likely to tamper with the evidence by way of threatening or winning over the witness or terrorise the complainant or they are likely to abscond etc. It should also be ensured that the non-arrest of the accused does not result into commission of series of offences against the victims. Hence, the timely arrest goes a long way in preventing the offence and to enthuse confidence in the victims and the community.
27) On knowing that Anticipatory Bail petition has been filed in the Sessions Court or High Court by the accused, the ID should immediately meet the concerned APP/SpI PP/ PP and apprise him of the facts of the case, to enable him to oppose the bail However, if the court entertains such petition, the lO/SpI PP/PP/ APP should rely upon Section 18 of SCs/STs (POA) Act.
28) The Investigation Officer should examine the important and relevant witnesses only, as that would help him to unearth the truth and complete the investigation within a period of 30 days.
29) It is noticed that some of the accused are getting counter cases registered against the SC/ST complainants. In this regard, the lOs must ensure that the investigation in both the cases is completed within 30 days and that the false case is closed Undue delays in this regard are viewed with suspicion by the public and victim in particular.
30) Adequate care should be taken by the IO to complete the investigation within the stipulated period i.e. 30 days and submit the report, lest on this ground the entire investigation may be held as null and void by the court being violation of Rule 7(2) of SCs/STs(POA) Rules.
31) In the cases booked against public servants, the concerned lOs should obtain permission of the Govt, to prosecute the accused u/s 197 Cr.PC before laying the charge sheet.
32) It is a well-established principle that the evidence of the complainant alone shall be sufficient for laying the charge sheet in the Court if it is capable of inspiring the confidence of the court The tendency to close the cases as False/MF, on the basis of the evidence of unimportant witnesses while ignoring the evidence of the complainant needs to be put to an end.
33) The IO must furnish the required number of copies of the relevant material to the accused and promptly produce the accused in the court to get the charges framed early in the designated Sessions Court.
34) In these cases, the IO must make an attempt to gather evidence to the effect that the accused were aware of the victim’s caste at the time of committing the offence,
35) After completion of investigation, the IO should file the charge sheet in the concerned ACJM Court for committal sake and not at all in the Special Court.
36) The lOs should send Memo of Evidence incorporating List of Documents, List of Material Objects and also List of Witnesses along with Charge Sheet and obtain acknowledgement for the same.
37) The IO should enclose injury reports, FSL Report, Medical opinion etc. along with the Charge Sheet while filing in the Court.
38) Any attempt on the part of the accused to threaten the witnesses or to tamper with the evidence etc. the IO should bring it to the notice of the Court and seek denial or cancellation of the bail as the case may be.
39) The IO should proceed u/s 82 & 83 Cr.PC against the sureties, where the accused are absconding and NBWs issued against them.
40) The IO should take prompt and effective steps in consultation with the PP to get the stays vacated by approaching the Superior Courts.
41) The Investigating Officer should produce the witnesses before the APPs for refreshing their memory before they are produced before the court The witnesses or whose 164 statements are already recorded must be warned of action u/s 193 IPC if they turn hostile in the court.
42) It the witnesses in attendance in courts are to be sent back without examination by the Court on the request or due to absence of the accused, the Prosecuting
Officers should insist on the examination of such witnesses or insist on payment of cost to the witnesses by the accused, as provided u/ Rule 11 of SCs/STs (POA) Rules. 1995.
43) The SsP must ensure that the District Magistrate do prepare a panel of Senior Advocates for conducting cases in the Special Courts as Spl PP and send the same to the Government to notification in the official gazette. The District Magistrate may also be requested to review the performance of the Special PP at least twice in a year and in case he has not conducted the cases with due care and caution, his name may be sent for de-notification.
44) The Commissioner of Police / Superintendents of Police Unit Officers may also recommend to the District Magistrate, if so desired by the victims, to engage an eminent Senior Advocate for conducting the cases in Special Court.
45) Summons on the Police Officers to give their evidence should be served promptly and it should be ensured by the supervisory officers that they do attend the Court to give their evidence.
46) Police should assist the Courts in bringing forward the witnesses / accused promptly to ensure smooth and expeditious trial of the case.
47) The dilatory tactics adopted by the accused should be effectively and honestly countered by way of formally opposing the applications for adjournments u/s 309 Cr.PC and also request the Court to go ahead with the trial as provided u/s 317 (1) Cr.PC.
48) The Commissioners of Police / Superintendents of Police should ensure that Special PPs are appointed in every Special Court meant for handling such cases.
49) The cases are getting abnormally delayed mainly due to non-attendance by the accused, non-attendance by the witnesses, lack of commitment on the part of the lOs / APP/Spl.PP/PP etc. It can be countered by formally opposing the exemption from attendance petitions and obtaining NBWs against such accused The lOs should also sincerely execute the NBWs / BWs against the accused and witnesses to ensure speedy trial and also to proceed u/s 82 and 83 Cr.PC against them if situation so warrants.
50) In cases where some of the accused are not attending the court for a long time, the IO/APP/Spl.PP/PP should get the case split up against the absconding accused, who are not likely to be arrested in near future. a$ provided u/s 317 (2) Cr PC.
51) Where there is no likelihood to secure the presence of the accused in near future after framing of the charges, the IO/APP/Spl.PP/PP should request the court to examine the witnesses u/s 299 Cr.PC.
52) The Commissioners of Police / Superintendents of Police must initiate appropriate disciplinary action against the lOs for the lapses pointed out in the Judgment and in cases of lapses on the part of Special PPs the same may be addressed to the District Magistrate / Director of Prosecutions / Ld Legal Remembrancer, Government of West Bengal.
53) The Commissioners of Police / Superintendents of Police West Bengal must actively liaise with the District Magistrate for effective functioning of District Vigilance & Monitoring Committee by way of causing critical review of cases for their expeditious disposal, organizing Awareness Campaigns, seeking involvement of NGOs review of relief and rehabilitation measures, formulation of Model Contingency Plans for preventing disputes and caste related social disturbances, etc.
54) The stringent provisions of the Act including neglect of duty by public servant, forfeiture of property, internment of persons from Scheduled and Tribal areas, imposition of collective fines, if judiciously implemented would create deterrent climate.
55) In all the acquittal cases, the judgment copies should be obtained from the court at the earliest to send the same to the concerned SP or Inspector General of Police-1, CID, West Bengal along with the opinion of APP/ Spl.PP/PP within (20) days for scrutiny and to enable them to take decision regarding filing an appeal or otherwise.
56) The Commissioners of Police / Superintendents of Police should personally review the Final Reports and take appropriate decision at their level keeping the following points in view among other things.
a) Whether the IO has explained the delay in lodging the complaint, if any
b) Whether the IO has examined all the eye witnesses specially those who have been cited in the complaint.
c) Whether the IO has collected the Caste Certificate of the complainant and accused
d) Whether valid appointment orders are placed in the CD file.
e) Whether opinion of the concerned A.P.P /Spl. PP/ PP has been obtained
f) Whether the Investigation Officer so appointed under Rule 7 (1) of SC/ST (POA) Rules, 1995 had completed the investigation on top priority within 30 days as required under Rule 7(2) of SC/ST (POA) Rules, 1995.
57) The District Superintendents of Police/ Commissioners of Police are requested to take action against any Police Officer u/s 4 of SCs/STs (POA) Act, 1989 who willfully neglects his duties required to be performed by him under this Act.
58) The copies of Judgments in all acquitted / convicted cases also should be sent to Inspector General of Police – I, CID, West Bengal.
The above instructions should be communicated to all the Officers — in — charge of Police Stations (including l/C’s) and Investigating Officers.
This issues with the approval of DGP, CID, West Bengal.

Addl. Director General of Police – ll,
CID, Bhawni Bhaban, Alipore
Kolkata- 700 027

Copy forwarded for information and necessary action to

1) All Superintendents of Police including SRPs. West Bengal
2) Commissioners of Police. Howrah and Assansole & Durgapore
3) DIG, Midnapur Range/Malda Range/Murshidabad Range/Railways.
4) Special IG and DIG. Presidency Range/Burdwan Range/Darjeeling Range/ Jalpaiguri Range
5) IGP, Western Zone / North Bengal / South Bengal / Railways

Addl. Director General of Police – ll,
CID, Bhawni Bhaban, Alipore
Kolkata- 700 027

Copy forwarded to DG & IGP, West Bengal, for Kind information.

Addl. Director General of Police-ll,
CID, Bhawni Bhaban, Alipore
Kolkata- 700 027

Source: http://anagrasarkalyan.gov.in/

 

#India-Delhi HC intervenes to see SC/ST students clear an MBBS paper


Jitender Gupta
Pushed around Dr Manish (standing) and other SC/ST students of VMCC
Society: discrimination
The Drona Syndrome
It takes Delhi HC to see SC/ST students clear an MBBS paper
The Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College is considered one of the best medical colleges in India. It is located in the national capital and its teaching hospital is the well-known Safdarjung Hospital. From all accounts, it’s also a place that needs to completely overhaul its prejudices. Twenty-five students of the college, all belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/STs), have had to move the Delhi High Court in sheer frustration, having repeatedly failed exams because of alleged discrimination. Teachers don’t seem to take the students’ grievances seriously: one teacher told Bhalchandra Mungekar, ex-Planning Commission member and MP, who headed a commission of inquiry into the complaints, that some  failures were because of “typographical mistakes”. Attitudes are unlikely to change soon. “The authorities mock us as ‘court batch’ students,” says Dr Manish, one of those who filed the case. “We continue to face a hostile atmosphere in college.”

Mungekar’s report to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, finalised after a series of meetings between the aggrieved students and the college authorities, held between February and June this year, gives an account of the troubles these students were put through. “Most of the active energy of these students is diverted and wasted in fighting such injustice,” says the report, a copy of which is with Outlook. “It leaves them frustrated, sometimes compelling them to give up studies midway. Occasionally, it even forces them to end their life.”

***

Damned spots!


The report of the Bhalchandra Mungekar (above) finds fault with the principal and other faculty members of VMMC.

***

The report focused on one college, but the bias probably exists in most colleges across India; what is shocking, though, is its existence in premier institutions offering professional courses such as those in medicine, engineering, business management, law and so on. In March, Anil Kumar Meena, an ST student of the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)—just a few minutes’ walk from Vardhaman Medical College—had committed suicide. Inability to cope with English, and also with how SC/ST students were looked upon by teachers and fellow students, was blamed. Tragic examples of this sort are not hard to find in colleges across the country.

The Mungekar report, though, was prompted by what one set of SC/ST students went through at one college. It’s a harrowing ordeal. Of the 35 SC/ST students admitted to the 2004-09 MBBS batch at Vardhaman Medical College, 25 hadn’t cleared the physiology exam even by July 2010, having failed repeatedly. Physiology is a pre-clinical subject, normally cleared in two semesters in the first one-and-a-half years of admission to the course. These students took a supplementary exam in October 2010—and again failed to clear it, despite having passed in other subjects. Failure in the October 2010 test meant they lost another year. The report says SC/ST students made between four and 13 attempts at passing physiology; eight failed despite 4-9 attempts and left the course; 24 have not yet passed despite 2-8 attempts. In contrast, not one general category student failed the physiology exams held in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In the same years, 15, 14 and 25 SC/ST students failed in the subject.

The students had written to the vice-chancellor of the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, to which the college is affiliated. They had also approached the college authorities, and finding their supplications ignored, used the Right to Information Act (RTI) to find out why they’d failed repeatedly. “All this points to discrimination by design against these students,” says Mungekar, who has also recommended that the students be paid `10 lakh each in compensation for the discrimination they had been made to suffer.

“It must be emphasised that the hostility of the college authorities towards SC/ST students is found to be so strong that the latter always had to approach the information commission with applications under RTI,” says the report. The report also wants Dr Shobha Das, the director, professor and head of the department of physiology, suspended under the Prevention of Atrocities Act of 1978. Das was the one who put forth the “typographical mistake” explanation.

The commission was shocked at the casual manner adopted by the college authorities. An RTI application revealed that one student, Rajeev Kumar Meena of the 2007 batch, had obtained seven marks for the theory part and 11 for the practicals in the July 2010 exam. But the results said he’d scored six and eight marks respectively. He was failed. Das, the physiology department head, claims to have tried to have the error rectified but  the college had already declared the results so it was in vain. No action was taken against Das for the mistake either.

The students had nowhere to go. The college does have a liaison officer to look specifically into the grievances of SC/ST students, but he didn’t care to record their complaints. The report notes that the principal, Dr V.K. Sharma, wasn’t even aware there was such a liaison officer. Sharma himself proved to be of little help; it was when he failed to address the students’ grievances that they approached the court, which ordered the college to allow the failed students to attend class. The college authorities brazenly ignored the order for a year till the students’ counsel reminded them.

The court’s observation is telling: “We’ll be failing in our duty if we do not deal with the submissions of the students, who belong to a different stratum of society, and are facing a hostile atmosphere because they have approached us…” Later, on a court order dated July 8, 2011, the students took a supplementary exam in physiology, conducted by the Army College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, under close supervision of the court and in a supportive atmosphere. Many of the students who had been failing in physiology since 2004 passed this time. The ending was not so happy, actually—for in addition to all the extra-curricular efforts they had to take to fight the discrimination, it must be remembered that the students ended up having to attend classes with a fresh batch, losing a year anyway.

As Mungekar observed, “The casual manner in which the college authorities treated this matter not only shows indifference but also the contempt they have for SC/ST students.” Some of the students, it must be noted here, were even forced to drop out in the face of such behaviour. Sadly, the Mungekar committee’s findings about prejudices against SC/ST students—and a lack of willingness to address special needs any group might have—could well apply to many colleges across the country. However high they may stand in the rankings.

Companies can’t acquire SC, ST land: Supreme Court


PTI Sep 20, 2012,  IST Tags: Supreme Court| Scheduled Caste| Schedule Tribe (The Supreme Court said that…)

NEW DELHI: In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court today said that the land belonging to scheduled castes or tribes cannot be bought by non-dalits, including companies as such transactions are unconstitutional. A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra gave the verdict on an appeal by the Rajasthan government against the state high court’s order holding such a sale to be valid in law.

The high court had passed its order on an appeal by a firm, Aanjaney Organic Herbal Pvt Ltd, against the refusal by the state authorities to recognise or grant mutation to the purchase of a plot by the company from a person belonging to scheduled caste. “The Act is a beneficial legislation which takes special care to protect the interest of the members of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe. “Section 42 (SC, ST Act) provides some general restrictions on sale, gift and bequest of the interest of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe, in the whole or part of their holding.

“The reason for such general restrictions is not only to safeguard the interest of the members of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe, but also to see that they are not being exploited by the members of non-Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. “We find Section 42(b) of the Act has to be read along with the constitutional provisions and, if so read, the expression ‘who is not a member of the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe’ would mean a person other than those who has been included in the public notification as per Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution,” said Justice Radhakrishnan, writing the judgement for the bench.

That property was purchased on September 26, 2005 through a registered sale deed for a consideration of Rs 60,000. The high court had held that such a transfer was valid as the company being a ‘juristic person‘ does not have a caste and, therefore, any transfer made by a Scheduled Caste person would not be hit by Section 42(b) of the Act. “If the contention of the company is accepted, it can purchase land from Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe and then sell it to a non-Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe, a situation the legislature wanted to avoid. “A thing which cannot be done directly can not be done indirectly by over-reaching the statutory restriction. “We are, therefore, of the view that the reasoning of the high court that the respondent being a juristic person, the sale effected by a member of Scheduled Caste to a juristic person, which does not have a caste, is not hit by Section 42 of the Act, is untenable and gives a wrong interpretation to the above mentioned provision,” the apex court said.

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