CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has expressed dismay over the inordinate delay in trial of scheduled caste atrocity case reported from a village in Balangir district nine years back.
The two-judge bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray has called for a report from the court of SDJM, Patnagarh over the delay in sending the case to the court of additional district judge-cum-special judge, Patnagarh for trial. “It is emphasised that this pertains to an incident of January 22 / 23, 2012 and involves offences under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Special efforts will have to be made for expeditious disposal of the case,” the bench observed in its order on August 2.
The case had first reached the High Court by way of a PIL on October 16, 2012. Seven residents of Lathore village under Khaprakhol police limits belonging to scheduled caste, who were victims of the attack, filed the petition. The district administration had provided relief materials like blankets, sarees, dresses etc and housed the victims in a relief camp. But they were denied proper rehabilitation and shelter, the petition alleged.
When the PIL came up on April 29, 2021 the HC found that though notice was issued on January 7, 2013, the government had not filed any reply till date. Taking note of it, the HC had directed the Balangir Collector to immediately undertake a personal visit to Lathore village and file affidavits on whether relief, rehabilitation and compensation were provided to the victims.
The SP was also directed to visit the village and file a separate affidavit informing the court of the current status of the FIRs lodged by the victims at Khaparakhol police station. The bench was disappointed as in the affidavit there was “no whisper of the further progress of the case beyond the filing of chargesheets”. The bench said, “The SP, Balangir will file a further additional affidavit by September 20 as to the steps taken in this regard”. The court also directed for disbursement of compensation to the victims without any further delay since more than nine years have passed since the incident.