Supreme Court: Provisions enacted to protect Rights of SC/ST must be enforced conscientiously

Sumpreme Court Rights of SC and ST

Alka Verma-

Published On: October 31, 2021 at 17:21 IST

On Friday, the Supreme Court of India stated that atrocities against members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are not a thing of the past.

Adding to this, the Court also stated that to protect the Constitutional Rights of SC/ST, a provision enacted for their well being must be enforced conscientiously.

“Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes specifically suffer on account of procedural lapses in the criminal justice system. They face insurmountable hurdles in accessing justice from the stage of filing the complaint to the conclusion of the trial, ” stated the Bench.

A Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and made these statements while hearing a Petition filed by a person, who was the victim in the case.

As per the petition, the victim stated that he was not served with the Court proceedings, which is a mandate under Section 15A of the SC/ST Act.

The victim, in his Petition, mentioned that when the Rajasthan High Court gave Bail to the man who was accused of murder, and he was not informed by the Court. 

It was also mentioned that the same man was also booked under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Listening to this, the Apex Court stated that there was a clear violation of the Victim’s Right to Notice and Heard as it was a mandate to issue the notice under Section 15A of the Act to the Victim or his representatives. 

“There has been a clear infraction of the mandate of the statute. Sub-sections (3) and (5) have been introduced by the Parliament to ensure a right to be heard by the person against whom the offense is committed or to the dependents. These provisions must be scrupulously observed,” stated the Bench.

The Bench also emphasized the point that during the probe conducted by the Police, the victims often face hurdles.

Adding to this, the Bench also stated that because of these issues, many victims do not even file complaints.

“This results in low conviction rates under the SC/ST Act, giving rise to the erroneous perception that cases registered under the Act are false and that it is being misused. On the contrary, the reality is that many acquittals are a result of improper investigation and prosecution of crime, leading to insufficient evidence,” stated the Bench.

In the end, disagreeing with the High Court’s decision to grant Bail to the Accused, the Apex Court quashed the given Bail.

Click here to Read/Download the Order

Also Read: Use and Misuse of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes Act

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