'SC/ST Act misused in recent years'

Judge appeals Dalit members to introspect

 
The speakers, including the First Additional District Judge Sanjeev Hanchati, appealed the Dalit members to introspect themselves in this direction.

However, this resulted in a debate, as one of the Dalit leaders denied the statement saying that the observation is false in the scenario of Dakshina Kannada, which again prompted the speakers to give clarifications. Addressing the inaugural of the programme, the First Additional District Judge Sanjeev Hanchati said the Atrocities Act is being isolated and it is being used as a weapon.

“The legislation is becoming a victim for somebody’s interests. The benefits of the Act are not reaching the actual poor and the depressed class,” he said. President of Mangalore Bar Association S P Changappa too supported the view, saying that many people misuse the legislation.

At this juncture, the President of District Marati Association M A Naik asked the organisers for an opportunity to express his opinion. “The Act being misused is a preconceived notion. If at all somebody is misusing it, let you punish them. However such things are not happening in DK,” he said. In fact, in some genuine incidents, police have failed to book cases under the Atrocities Act.

Replying to the same, Sanjeev Hanchati clarified that his comment was not specifically on DK, but on the general scenario. “The Act has been misused in less numbers in this district. But the trend in other places has made the people to look at even the genuine cases with suspicion,” he added.

In his presidential address, the District Principal and Sessions Judge H R Deshpande appealed the Dalit members not to allow anybody to misuse the Act meant for their protection. “Law should not be the property of some people. Apart from leaders, common members of the community should attend the awareness programmes and gain knowledge,” he suggested.

Inaugurating the event, Additional SP S Ramesh said legal awareness is necessary for the Dalit members to join the mainstream.  Principal Civil Judge Anand N Pattan, MCC Commissioner K N Vijayprakash, Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement SP Mithra Heraje, advocate K Balaraj Rai and District Legal Services Authority member Gopal Kadumath spoke. The Authority in association with other organisations had organised the programme.

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