In this post, we explore how courts have performed in respect of crimes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. We will compare the data from Andhra Pradesh (AP), Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu (TN) with the national figures for 2016.
Having noted that the number of reported crimes against SCs and STs is high, the next stage of the criminal justice process that demands study is the response of the investigating agencies. While a few independent reports have surveyed the response of the police to crimes against SCs and STs, NCRB reports remain the only comprehensive source of such data at the national and state level.
On 21 May 2018, The Wire reported the death of a Dalit man in Gujarat who was allegedly beaten to death when he protested the fact that his wife was asked to clean filth, free of charge. This reporting comes only two months after the decision of Subhash Kashinath Mahajan, where the Supreme Court diluted some of the protections under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (‘Act’). The incident is a striking example of the pervasiveness of caste bias and the prevalence of atrocities in India.
On 23rd April 2018, the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (“HRF”) held a Strategic Multi-Actor Round Table (SMART) 2018 to discuss issues related to strengthening the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (“Act”) and Rules in Tamil Nadu and release of the Status Report on the implementation of the Act in Tamil Nadu, in 2015 and 2016.