Expedite disposal of SC/ST atrocity cases: Bommai

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai asks officials to expedite disposal of SC/ST atrocity cases

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Credit: DH Photo

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday issued a slew of directions towards speedy disposal of atrocity cases against SC/STs, including witness protection measures, expediting investigation and beefing up prosecution.

Bommai chaired a meeting of the state-level vigilance and monitoring committee formed under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. 

“We found that in several cases, there’s a delay in investigation and after filing of the chargesheet, a delay in prosecution. The departments of home and law should take measures to address the delays,” Bommai told reporters after the meeting.

Bommai also noted that witnesses in the atrocity cases often faced threats or inducements to become hostile. “Directions were issued to make sure the witnesses are given protection, even while attending court,” he said. 

The additional advocate-general will be appointed to oversee the progress of the cases, it was decided.

The committee also decided to review over 1.8 lakh applications in the state that have been rejected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. These are applications seeking forest land rights by STs and other traditional forest dwellers. “These cases should be reviewed. Even the Supreme Court has said so. A state-level review committee will be formed for this that will have three people connected to this issue,” Bommai said. 

On complaints of people bagging bogus SC/ST certificates, the committee directed officials to take action. “Even those officials who issued the certificates should face action,” Bommai said. 

Further, the CM set a 4-month deadline to clear pending borewell and electricity connections to SC/ST beneficiaries. 

The government will consider amending the law to extend the time limit for the dependents of the SC/STs who die due to atrocities to apply for government jobs on compassionate grounds. “It will be extended from one year to two years and up to three years for minors,” Bommai said. 

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