In the last two years, out of 1,787 cases of acquittal under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 [SC/ST Act], only 85 were forwarded for appeal, the Karnataka government told the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday.
Noting this, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj directed the State to clarify the procedure for sending appeals against acquittal under the SC/ST Act.
“The Learned AGA submitted a memo enclosing a chart. The Chart indicates that in 1,097 cases of acquittal, only 39 cases were forwarded to Deputy Director of Prosecution in the year 2019. In 2020, out of 690 cases, only 46 were forwarded….The Deputy Director to clarify the procedure for sending appeals against acquittal,” the Court said.
The Bench was hearing a plea seeking proper implementation of the SC/ST Act and the Rules framed under it.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the High Court questioned the State on who takes the decision regarding filing of appeals under the SC/ST Act.
The State takes a call on the same, the counsel appearing for the government said.
“State has to take a call on cases which goes for appeal. But in each case, there should be application of mind. That is the only anxiety…”
The Bench then quizzed the government for the reason on why only a minuscule number of cases were proceeded for appeal.
The government said that in several cases, many witnesses turned hostile.
“These figures need to be explained,” the Court insisted.
As the matter progressed, Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari appearing for the petitioners submitted that the State had not reported compliance regarding orders dated February 21 and March 9 respectively.
In this regard, the Bench further directed the petitioners to submit a chart showing compliance and non-compliance.
The matter will be next heard on April 16.