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ATROCITY AGAINST SCHEDULE CASTE AND SCHEDULE TRIBES AND PTCL ACT - HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE - NOTE

To begin with it is very important to introduce overselves with the subject in the learned quotes and words of Justices of Supreme Court in State Of Karnataka vs Appa Balu Ingale And Others AIR 1993 SC 1126 IT IS OBSERVED:- It is trite that the Caste system among the Hindus has been structured on graded hierarchy of Chaturvarna and the Dalits and Scheduled Tribes (for short 'tribes') from among whom Sudras occupy the last rung in the social ladder. Impregnable walls of separation with graded inequalities has, thus, been erected between different sections among Hindus. The Dalits are made to serve the society in menial jobs as slaves and serfs. Caste system segregated them from the main stream of the rational life and prevented the Hindus from becoming in integrated Society with fraternity and affinity. The Dalits are denied even access to potable water sources, education, cultural life and economic pursuits. They are made to live as beasts of burden at the outskirts of the villages, towns, slums etc. The Tribes live in intractable terrains and forests. Manu Smrithi prohibited the Dalits to wear decent clothes, wear precious metallic ornaments or even to use decent utensils, food and drink. This had led to the abominable and abnoxious practice of untouchability, depriving them of social intercourse, educational and cultural development and were condemned as worse than animals. In the words of Bharat Ratna Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in his preface to his book "The untouchables" page I, that "it is a diabolical contrivance to suppress and enslave humanity. Its proper name would be "infamy". At page 28, he stated that "untouchability.... is a unique phenomenon unknown to humanity in other parts of the world. Nothing like it is to be found in any other society - primitive, ancient or modern. In one of his post independent fiery speeches, Dr. Ambedkar with his characteristic clarity and piercing appeal to the Dalits stated thus:- In order to have a clear understanding of untouchability and its practice in real life, I want you to recall the stories of the atrocities perpetrated against you. The instances of beating by caste Hindus for the simple reason that you have claimed the right to enrol your children in government schools, or the right to draw water from a public well, or the right to take a marriage procession with the groom on horseback, are very common. You all know such instances, as they happen before your eyes. But there are several other causes for which atrocities are committed on the Untouchables by the caste Hindus which, if revealed, surprise foreigners. The Untouchables are beaten for putting on clothes of good quality. They have been whipped because they used utensils made of metal like copper, etc. Their houses are burnt because they have brought land under cultivation. They are beaten for putting on the sacred thread. [A visible symbol worn by high-caste Hindus.] They are beaten for refusing to carry dead animals and eat carrion, or for walking through the village with socks and shoes on, or for not bowing down before the caste Hindus, for taking water in a copper pot while going out to the fields to ease themselves. Recently an instance has been noted where the Untouchables were beaten for serving chapatis at a dinner party. You must have heard and some of you must have experienced such atrocities. Where beating is not possible, you are aware of how the weapon of boycott is used against you. You all know how the caste Hindus have made daily life unbearable by prohibiting you from getting work, by not allowing your cattle to graze in the jungles and prohibiting your men from entering the village. But very few of you have realised why this happens. What is the root of their tyranny? To me, it is very necessary that we understand it. The instances cited above have nothing to do with the virtue and vices of an individual. This is not a feud between two rival men. The problem of untouchability is a matter of class struggle. It is a struggle between caste Hindus and the Untouchables. This is not a matter of doing injustice against one man. This is a matter of injustice being done by one class against another. This struggle is related to social status. This struggle indicates how one class should keep its relationship with another class of people. The struggle starts as soon as you start claiming equal treatment with others. Had it not been so, there would have been no struggle over simple reason like serving chapatis, wearing good quality clothes, putting on the sacred thread, fetching water in a metal pot, sitting the bridegroom on the back of a horse, etc. In these cases you spend your own money. Why then do the high-caste Hindus get irritated? The reason for their anger is very simple. Your behaving on par with them insults them. Your status in their eyes is low, you are impure, you must remain at the lowest rung. Then alone will they allow you to live happily. The moment you cross your level the struggle starts. The instances given above also prove one more fact. Untouchability is not a short or temporary feature; it is a permanent one. To put it straight, it can be said that the struggle between the Hindus and the Untouchables is a permanent phenomenon. It is eternal, because the high caste people believe that the religion which has placed you at the lowest level of the society is itself eternal. No change according to time and circumstances is possible. You are at the lowest rung of the ladder today. You shall remain lowest forever. Poverty and penury made the Dalits as dependants and became vulnerable to oppression. The slightest attempt to assert equality or its perceived exercise receives the ire of the dominent sections of the society and the Dalits would become the object of atrocities and oppression. The lack of resources made the Dalits vulnerable to economic and social boycott. Their abject poverty and dependence on the upper classes in Rural Indian for livelihood stands a constant constraint to exercise their rights - social, legal or constitutional, though guaranteed. Thus they have neither money capacity, influence nor means to vindicate their rights except occasional collective action which would be deceased or flittered away by pressures through diverse forms. Consequently most of the Dalits are continuing to languish under the yoke of the practice of untouchability. The State has the duty to protect them and render social justice to them. M.P. Jain in his Indian Constitutional Law 4th Edition 1987 at p. 522 stated that 'Article 17 read with Article 15(2) protects an individual from discriminatory conduct not only on the part of the State but even on the part of the private persons in certain situations. The Supreme Court has stated that whenever any fundamental right like Article 17 is violated by a private individual, it is the constitutional obligation of the state to take necessary steps to interdict such violation and ensure observance of the fundamental right by the private individual who is the victim of transgression. The State is under a constitutional obligation to see that there is no violation of the fundamental rights of such person'. Regarding equality, Dr. Ambedkar stated in the Constituent Assembly : "We must begin by acknowledging the fact that there is complete absence of two things in Indian Society. One of these is equality. On the social plane, we have in India a society based on the principle of graded inequality which means elevation for some and degradation for others. On the economic plane, we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as against many who live in abject poverty." Dr. Rajendra Prasad, at the concluding address of the Constituent Assembly, stated in the following words:- "To all we give the assurance that it will be our endeavour to end poverty and squalor and its companions, hunger and disease; to abolish distinction and exploitation and to ensure decent conditions of living. We are embarking on a great task. We hope that in this we shall have the unstinted service and co-operation of all our people and the sympathy and support of all the communities..." Though Dr. Ambedkar intended to abolish caste system by abolishing all the privileges and disabilities of the forward classes, But The Constitution never prohibited the practice of caste and casteism. Every activity in Hindu society, from cradle to grave is carried on solely on the basis of one's caste. Even after death, a Hindu is not allowed to be cremated in the crematorium which is maintained for the exclusive use of the other caste or community. Dalits are not permitted to be buried in graves or cremated in crematoriums where upper caste people bury or cremate their dead. Christians have their own graveyards. Muslims are not allowed to be buried in the Hindu crematoriums and vice-versa. Thus, caste rules the roost in the life of a Hindu and even after his death. In such circumstances, it is entirely fallacious to advance this argument on the ground that the Constitution has prohibited the use of caste. What the Constitution aims at is achievement of equality between the castes and not elimination of castes. Special Court Justice Ramaswamy observed in the case of State of Karnataka v. Ingale that more than seventy-five percent of the cases brought under the SC/ST Act end in acquittal at all levels. The situation has not improved much since 1992 according to the figures given by the 2002 Annual Report dealing with SC/ST Act (of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment) Of the total cases filed in 2002 only 21.72% were disposed of, and, of those, a mere 2.31% ended in conviction. The number of acquittals is 6 times more than the number of convictions and more than 70 percent of the cases are still pending. Going through the normal judicial system is self degrading for any dalit. This is because of the still existing biases of the court judges. One example is the conduct of an Allahabad High Court judge who had his chambers "purified" with water from the ‘ganga jal’ because a dalit judge had previously sat in that chamber before him The Andhra Pradesh High Court, in D. Ramlinga Reddy v. State of AP, took the position that provisions of Rule 7 are mandatory and held that investigation under the SC/St Act has to be carried out by only an officer not below the rank of DSP. An investigation carried out and charge sheet filed by an incompetent officer is more than likely to be quashed. Similarly, the Madras High Court in M. Kathiresam v. State of Tamil Nadu held that investigation conducted by an officer other than a DSP is improper and bad in law and proceedings based on such an investigation are required to be quashed. The Courts without taking into consideration the inadequacies of the State, have been punishing SC/STs for the same. Shri Pravin Rashtrapal, Member of Parliament rightly pointed out that there are insufficient officers at that level. His statement is supported by the Annul Report of 2005-2006 of Ministry of Home Affairs. Of the total posts sanctioned by the government under Indian Police Service (IPS) more than 15 percent of the posts are vacant. This basically means that there is one IPS officer for 77,000 SC/STs. Dalit Protection and the steps taken under the law • National Commission for SC/STs established under Article 338 of the Constitution of India • Establishment of State Commissions for SC/ST • Enforcement of The Protection of Civil Right Act, Act 22 of 1955 • Implementation of Karnataka SC/ST PTCL Act of 1978 • Implementation of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 • The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 • Implementation of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (Rules 0f 1995)

KARNATAKA LAND LAWS