A clarification has been sought by the Karnataka High Court from the State Government regarding the delay in investigation and charge sheet for the offences that were registered under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015.
The state government provided the requisite details to the HC. In the documents, it is stated that 35,091 cases have been filed under the Act of 2015. These cases have been filed during 2015-19. Out of the 35,091 cases, the charge sheets have filed for only 6541 cases.
A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi presided over the matter. The division bench stated that “Rule 7(2) provides that the charge sheet shall be filed within a period of 60 days. The state shall clarify whether the investigating officers have submitted any explanation for the delay in the investigation. The state government will have to take a call why there is a gross delay in filing charge sheets”.
The court has suggested certain measures that can be adopted to administer the delay in investigation and acquittals. the court has opined that regular training courses for investigating officers and public prosecutors should be conducted by the State.
The Registrar General of the High Court is also called to submit a report on the proposal submitted for setting up additional special courts. The report should update the court on the status of such additional courts.
These directions by the HC have been given in the light of the PIL filed by the Committee for Monitoring and Strengthening SCs/STs in Karnataka. The petition sought directions for proper implementation of the Acts and Rules in the State.
The PIL further read, “This is not adversarial litigation. Judicial notice will have to be taken of the fact that even several years after the Constitution is adopted and after the Atrocities Act came into force in the year 1989, there are several cases happening across the country of Atrocities within the meaning of Section 3 of the Atrocities act. Therefore, it is all the more necessary for the state to implement the provision of this Atrocities Act and said rules. Entire machinery for ensuring implementation in its true letter and spirit has been provided under the Act and said rules the only question is of activating the said machinery, for optimum results”