PMK founder S Ramadoss, who stirred a row by claiming that Dalits misuse the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989, appears to have got his facts wrong as data available with the Tamil Nadu Crime Record Bureau (TNCRB) suggests exactly the opposite.
As per the records, out of a whopping seven lakh cases that were reported in the State in 2011, cases booked under the Act were well below one per cent.
“Cases reported under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989, are only 0.19 per cent in 2011, according to the TNCRB. Without realising the fact that the Act was not being implemented properly, PMK leaders like Ramadoss make statements that it is being misused by Dalits,” said A Kathir, Executive Director of Evidence, a Madurai-based NGO focusing on Dalit issues. “If he still sticks to his claim, let him prove it with statistics,” Kathir challenged.
Pointing out that in a State that has 1,535 police stations, only 1,391 cases were booked under the SC/ST Act in 2011, he said, “There may be stray cases of misuse of the Act, but that doesn’t warrant a demand for its amendment or a sweeping statement that it is being misused.”
An analysis by the National Crime Record Bureau clearly showed that the conviction rate of cases booked under the Act in the last five years had never crossed 10 per cent. In 2011 alone, 3,659 cases were pending for trial. In none of the four years prior to 2011, did the number of pending cases go below 3,500. “Both the conviction rate and number of cases booked under the Act are low in Tamil Nadu. And if one were to go by cases pending in police stations, in 2010 alone 1,072 were pending at the station level for investigation, while chargesheets have been filed only in 1,020 cases,” he said.
The SC/ST (POA) Act was enacted 17 years ago aimed at curbing atrocities.
The government had also laid down a set of procedures for the implementation of the Act, Kathir said, adding that it was rarely followed in the State.