//Set up protection cells: Dalit rights fora

Set up protection cells: Dalit rights fora

Legal Correspondent, Hindu Daily

Notice to Centre, States, SC, ST Commission

# Victims not allowed to make complaints
# FIRs rarely filed
# Set up special courts in every district

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre, all States and Union Territories, the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for SC & ST on a petition seeking effective measures to prevent atrocities on Dalits.

A Bench consisting of Justices Ruma Pal, Dalveer Bhandari and Markandey Katju issued the notice on Monday on the plea by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, Sakshi–Human Rights Watch and the Centre for Dalit Rights.

The petitioners wanted a direction issued to the respondents to appoint nodal officers and set up protection cells, as envisaged under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.

They said the victims were not allowed to make complaints and first information reports were rarely registered. Even when they were registered, there was no reference to proper sections of the Act. The victims were invariably forced to compromise on pain of social/economic boycott.

Monitor cases

Separate special courts should be set up in each district within six months as provided under the Act. All cases of atrocities on the Dalits and tribals must be regularly monitored by judicial officers.

Such cases should receive top priority and the victims should get speedy justice.

The petitioners also sought a direction to trial courts to send a report every six months to the High Court concerned.