Vol. XLII No. 12 March 25, 2018

DSMM Demands Filing of Review Petition on Supreme Court Order

Dilution of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act

DSMM Demands Filing of Review Petition on Supreme Court Order


The National Executive committee Meeting of the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) has issued the following statement on March 21.

THE national executive committee of the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) expressed its grave concern over the judgement given by Supreme Court with regard to the enforcement of the Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA Act). The SC has considerably diluted the stringent provisions of the implementation of the Act. The Manch demands that the Government of India file a review petition immediately so that the POA Act remains effective.  This judgement has a negative impact on the concept of social justice which is a basic principle enshrined in the constitution.

The Supreme Court has most unfortunately modified Section 18 of the Act in the name of ‘misuse’.  The truth is that in cases of atrocities against SCs and STs, not only is the conviction rate very low but there is delay at every stage from filing chargesheets to proceeding with the matters in court. According to official statistics, under IPC 34 per cent of cases were convicted where as only 23 per cent of cases were convicted under the POA Act.  Delays in arrests of the accused will be used to browbeat the victims and force them to withdraw cases.  This is already being done because of the disproportionate access to power and influence between the victims who are socially and economically weak and the accused. In fact there is a great need to see that cases of atrocities are registered and pursued stringently and without unnecessary delay. If the fear of being arrested is removed from the minds of the perpetrators, then we will see an even greater increase in attacks and violence against the SCs and STs. The dilution in the stringency of the Act will lead to great miscarriage of justice.  It must be remembered that in many cases the accused are government servants and officials.  Government offices and departments are sites of discrimination and injustice to the SCs and STs.  The police also has a record of committing grave crimes against these sections of society.

DSMM therefore appeals to the Government of India to file a review petition to nullify the changes sought to be made by the Supreme Court.  The central and state governments must make all efforts to strictly implement the provisions of the Act. DSMM also requests all progressive and democratic minded people and law makers and intellectuals to oppose the dilution of the provisions of this Act.