Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 2015
*రాజ్యాంగంలో ఆర్టికల్ 17* ప్రకారం అంటరానితనం నిషేధం.
దీనికి అనుగుణంగా పార్లమెంట్ 1995లో అంటరానితనం నిషేధ చట్టం రూపొందించింది.
ఈ చట్టాన్ని 1976లో పౌరహక్కుల చట్టంగా మార్చారు.
ఈ చట్టం కేవలం అంటరానితనాన్ని గురించి మాత్రమే ప్రతిపాదించింది.
అంతేకాక అంటరానితనాన్ని పాటించినా, ప్రోత్సహించినా విధించే శిక్షలు ఈ చట్టంలో అతి తక్కువగా ఉన్నాయి.
ఈ చట్టం ప్రకారం కనీస శిక్ష 30 రోజులు జైలు లేదా రూ. వంద జరిమానా లేదా రెండూ.
గరిష్ఠంగా శిక్ష ఆరు నెలల జైలు శిక్ష లేదా రూ. 500 జరిమానా లేదా రెండూ నిర్దేశించిన శిక్షలు తక్కువగా ఉండటంతో అంటరానితనం తగ్గలేదు.
పైగా వేధింపులు పెరిగాయి.
దీనిని దృష్టిలో పెట్టుకొని 1989 సెప్టెంబర్ 11న ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీ వేధింపుల నిరోధక చట్టాన్ని రూపొందించారు. అనంతరము దీనిని 2016 లో సవరించారు.
దీనిలో పారెస్టు భూములతో పాటు అన్ని రకాల భూముల వివాదాలకు ఈ చట్టము వర్తింప చేసారు. అదికారులు ఉద్దేశ పూర్వకంగా నిర్లక్ష్యం గా వ్యవహరించినా వారిపై కూడా కేసులు నమోదు చెయ్యవచ్చు.
దీని ప్రకారం ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీలపై… ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీలు కానివారు చేసే వేధింపులు శిక్షార్హమైన చర్యగా పరిగణించారు.
*చట్టంలో పేర్కొన్న ప్రధానాంశాలు*
1. ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీలపై జరిగే చిన్న నేరాలు వాటి కి శిక్షలు
2. ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీలపై జరిగే పెద్ద నేరాలు వాటికి శిక్షలు
3. ప్రత్యేక న్యాయస్థానాలు
4. ఈ చట్టం అమలు ప్రభుత్వ బాధ్యత
*చిన్న నేరాలు – శిక్షలు*
ఈ చట్టం ప్రకారం ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీలు కానివారు ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీలపై కింద పేర్కొన్న ఆకృత్యాలకు పాల్పడితే వాటిని చిన్న నేరాలుగా పరిగణించి శిక్షిస్తారు.
🔹 తినకూడని పదార్థాలు తినాలని, తాగకూడని పదార్థాలు తాగాలని బలవంతం చేయడం.
🔹 కులం పేరుతో అవమానించడం
🔹 ఇళ్లలో చెత్తచెదారాలను పారబోయడం
🔹 ఇంటి నుంచి నెట్టివేయడం
🔹 ఆస్తులను ఆక్రమించుకోవడం
🔹 బేగార్ లేదా వెట్టిచాకిరి చేయించడం
🔹 అభిష్టానికి వ్యతిరేకంగా ఓటు వేయాలని బలవంతం చేయడం
🔹 ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీ మహిళలపై లైంగిక వేధింపులకు పాల్పడటం.
🔹 ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీలు ఉపయోగించే చెరువులు, బావులు, రిజర్వా యర్లు, కాలువలను కలుషితం చేయడం.
🔹 బహిరంగ ప్రదేశాల్లో ప్రవేశంపై నిషేధం విధించడం
పై నేరాలకు పాల్పడితే కనీసం 6 నెలల నుంచి గరిష్ఠంగా ఐదేళ్ల వరకు జైలు శిక్ష విధించవచ్చు. లేదా రూ.2,500 నుంచి 25,000 వరకు జరిమానా లేదా రెండూ కలిపి విధించవచ్చు.
*పెద్ద నేరాలు – శిక్షలు*
కింద పేర్కొన్న చర్యలను ఈ చట్టం ప్రకారం నేరంగా పరిగణించి శిక్ష విధిస్తారు.
1. మరణశిక్ష లేదా యావజ్జీవ కారాగార శిక్ష పడే అవకాశం ఉన్న తప్పుడు కేసులు బనాయించడం, అటువంటి కేసుల్లో సాక్ష్యం చెప్పడం. అది తప్పుడు కేసు అని కేసు పరిశీలనలో ఉండగా నిరూపితమైతే కేసు పెట్టినవారికి, సాక్ష్యం చెప్పిన వారికి యావజ్జీవ కారాగార శిక్ష విధిస్తారు. ఒకవేళ మరణశిక్ష విధించిన తరవాత తప్పుడు కేసు అని నిరూపితమైతే కేసు పెట్టినవారికి, సాక్ష్యం చెప్పినవారికి మరణశిక్ష విధిస్తారు.
2. ఏడేళ్ల జైలు శిక్ష పడే అవకాశం ఉన్న తప్పుడు కేసు పెట్టినా లేక ఆ కేసులో సాక్ష్యం చెప్పినా అలాంటి వారికి 6 నెలల నుంచి ఏడేళ్ల వరకు జైలుశిక్ష, రూ. 25,000 జరిమానా విధించవచ్చు.
3. ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీ ఇళ్లకు ఆకతాయితనంగా నిప్పుపెట్టినా, వారి ఇళ్లపై పేలుడు పదార్థాలు విసిరినా 6 నెలల నుంచి ఏడేళ్ల వరకు జైలు శిక్ష రూ. 25000 వరకు జరిమానా విధించవచ్చు. ఆకతాయి చర్య వలన సంబంధిత నివా సం పూర్తిగా నాశనమైతే రూ.2,50,000 వరకు జరిమానా లేదా యావజ్జీవ కారాగార శిక్ష కూడా విధించవచ్చు.
4. ఒక ప్రభుత్వోద్యోగి ఈ చట్టంలో పేర్కొన్న నేరాలకు పాల్పడితే ఆ నేరానికి సంబంధించిన శిక్షతో పాటు అధనంగా ఏడాది జైలు శిక్ష విధిస్తారు.
5. ఒక ప్రభుత్వోద్యోగి సమక్షంలో వేధింపులు జరుగుతుండగా దానిని నివారించడానికి ప్రయత్నించకపోతే 6 నెలల నుంచి ఏడాది వరకు జైలు శిక్ష విధించవచ్చు.
6. ఒక వ్యక్తి ఈ చట్టం ఆధారంగా శిక్షకు గురైన తరవాత కూడా అదే నేరానికి పాల్పడితే ఆ నేరానికి సంబంధించిన గరిష్ట శిక్షతో పాటు అదనంగా ఏడాది జైలుశిక్ష విధిస్తారు. వేధింపులకు పాల్పడిన ఒక నేరస్థుడు శిక్ష అనుభవించిన తరవాత తిరిగి వేధింపులకు పాల్పడతాడని భావిస్తే ఆ వ్యక్తిని ఆ ప్రాంతం నుంచి మూడు సంవత్సరాల వరకు బహిష్కరించవచ్చు.
ఈ సమయంలో అతడు ఆ ప్రాంతం లోకి ప్రవేశించే ప్రయత్నం చేస్తే ఏడాది జైలు శిక్ష, బహిష్కరణ కాలాన్ని పొడిగిస్తారు.
చట్టంలో పేర్కొన్న నేరాలను పరిష్కరించడానికి రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వం స్పెషల్ కోర్టులను ఏర్పాటు చేయవచ్చు.
వాటి ఏర్పాటుకు హైకోర్టు ప్రధాన న్యాయమూర్తిని సంప్రదించాలి.
కొన్ని సందర్భాల్లో అవసరమైతే జిల్లాల్లో ఉండే సెషన్స కోర్టులనే ప్రభుత్వం ప్రత్యేక కోర్టులుగా ప్రకటించవచ్చు.
ఈ సెషన్స కోర్టుల్లో బాధితుల తరఫున వాదించడానికి స్పెషల్ పబ్లిక్ ప్రాసిక్యూటర్ను నియమించాలి.
అతడికి అడ్వకేట్గా కనీసం ఏడేళ్లు అనుభవం ఉండాలి. ఈ చట్టం కింద నమోదైన కేసులను స్పెషల్ కోర్టులు రెండు సంవత్సరాల లోపు పరిష్కరించాలి.
ఈ చట్టాన్ని అమలు చేయడానికి రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వం కింది చర్యలు చేపట్టాలి.
🔹 వేధింపులు తరచూ జరిగే ప్రాంతాలను గుర్తించి, ఆయా ప్రాంతాల్లో వేధింపుల నివారణకు ప్రత్యేక కమిటీ ఏర్పాటు చేయాలి. దానికి జిల్లా మేజిస్ర్టేట్ లేదా కలెక్టర్ లేదా డిఎస్పి అధ్యక్షుడిగా వ్యవహరించాలి.
🔹 బాధితులకు ఉచిత న్యాయ సహాయం అందించే ప్రక్రియ లో భాగంగా కోర్టు ఖర్చులే కాకుండా కోర్టుకు వచ్చి వెళ్లడానికి టి.ఎ, డి.ఎ చెల్లించాలి. ఈ ఖర్చులను బాధితుడి తరపున సాక్షికి కూడా చెల్లించాలి.
🔹 ఈ చట్టం ఆధారంగా నమోదయ్యే కేసులను పరిష్కరిం చడానికి ప్రత్యేక కోర్టులు ఏర్పాటు చేయాలి. వాటిలో స్పెషల్ పబ్లిక్ ప్రాసిక్యూటర్ను నియమించాలి.
🔹 ఈ చట్టంపై అవగాహన కల్పించడానికి విస్తృత ప్రచారం చేపట్టాలి.
🔹 ఈ చట్టం అమలు జరుగుతున్న తీరుపై వార్షిక నివేదికను కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వానికి సమర్పించాలి. కేంద్రం ఆ నివేదికను పార్లమెంట్కు సమర్పిస్తుంది.
*చట్టం అమలవుతున్న తీరు*
1990 జనవరి 30 నుంచి ఈ చట్టం అమల్లోకి వచ్చింది.
ఇది దేశవ్యాప్తంగా అమలవుతుంది.
కానీ, జమ్మూ కశ్మీర్కు వర్తించదు. దీని అమలుకు సంబంధించిన సమగ్ర నియమాలను కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వం 1995 మార్చి 31న ప్రకటించింది.
చట్టాన్ని రూపొందించింది కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వమైనా, దానిని అమలుచేసే బాధ్యత మాత్రం రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వాలకు, కేంద్రపాలిత ప్రాంతాలకు ఉంటుంది.
*అమలులో సానుకూల అంశాలు నిధుల కేటాయింపు:*
కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వం ఈ చట్టాన్ని అమలుచేయడానికి రాష్ర్టాలకు గ్రాంట్లు ఇస్తుంది.
ఈ చట్టం అమలు చేయడానికి ఉన్న పాలన, న్యాయ యంత్రాంగాలను బలోపేతం చేయటానికి ఈ నిధులు ఉపయోగించాలి.
దీనికి సంబంధించిన బడ్జెట్ కేటాయింపులు నిరంతరం పెరుగుతూ ఉన్నాయి.
*ఉదా:* 2004-05 ఆర్థిక సంవత్సరంలో రూ. 35 కోట్లుగా ఉన్న బడ్జెట్ 2007-08 నాటికి రూ. 38 కోట్లకు పెరిగింది.
గడచిన ఐదేళ్లలో ఈ చట్టం కింద నమోదయ్యే కేసుల సంఖ్య క్రమక్రమంగా పెరుగుతోంది.
ఈ చట్టం అమలు, పర్యవేక్షణకు స్పెషల్ సెల్స్ కూడా ఏర్పాటయ్యాయి. ప్రస్తుతం 17 రాష్ర్టాల్లో వీటిని ఏర్పాటు చేశారు.
*సున్నిత ప్రాంతాల గుర్తింపు:*
ఆకృత్యాలు విస్తృతంగా జరిగే అవకాశం ఉన్న సున్నిత ప్రాంతాలను 10 రాష్ర్టాల్లో గుర్తించారు.
24 రాష్ర్టాల్లో ఈ చట్టం ద్వారా నమోదైన కేసులను పరిశీలించడానికి ప్రత్యేక కోర్టులు ఏర్పాటు చేశారు.
ఈ చట్టాన్ని అమలు చేయడానికి కేంద్ర-రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వాలు చర్యలు చేపడుతున్నప్పటికీ ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీలపై వేధింపులు తగ్గ లేదు.
🔹కర్ణాటకలోని కోలార్ జిల్లాలోని కంబాలపల్లె గ్రామంలో ఒక దళిత కుటుంబాన్ని సజీవ దహనం చేసిన సంఘటన,
🔹బీహార్లో రణ్వీర్ సేన దళితులపై చేసిన ఊచకోత ఘటనలు ఈ వాస్తవాన్ని నిరూపిస్తున్నాయి.
🔹 ఫిర్యాదులు తీసుకోవడానికి పోలీసులు ఆసక్తి చూపడం లేదు, కొన్ని సందర్భాల్లో పోలీసులు ఫిర్యాదుదారులపైనే తప్పుడు కేసులు పెడుతున్నారు.
లేదా బూటకపు ఎనకౌంటర్లు జరుగుతున్నాయి.
🔹 ఎస్సీ, ఎస్టీల్లో ఉన్న పేదరికం కారణంగా వారు ఇంకా వెట్టిచాకిరి చేస్తూనే ఉన్నారు. అక్కడ వేధింపులకు గురైనా తమ యజమానులపై ఫిర్యాదు చేస్తే ఉపాధి కోల్పోతా మనే భయంతో ఫిర్యాదు కూడా చేయడం లేదు.
🔹 చట్టం అమలు విషయంలో బ్యూరోక్రాట్లలో నెలకొన్న నిర్లిప్తత వలన కూడా చట్టం సరిగా అమలుకావడం లేదు.
కొన్ని సందర్భాల్లో ఉన్నత కులస్థులతో కుమ్మక్కై దళితులకు, గిరిజనులకు వ్యతిరేకంగా పనిచేస్తున్నారు.
Chhattisgarh police should help governments by helping scheduled Tribes
30 October 2017, 10:11AM
￼P. S. Krishnan is a Former Secretary with theGovernment of India and has been working on issuesof social justice for nearly seven decades.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 (POA Act) and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act 2015 (POA Amendment Act) constitute a jurisprudential statutory initiative to provide protection from violence for two of the most vulnerable social groups in India: the Dalits/Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Adivasis/Scheduled Tribes (STs). These laws are based on Article 46 of the Constitution, which mandates the State to promote the educational and economic interests of SCs and STs and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
The POA Act has rarely been used for the protection of STs. One reason for this is that the nature of atrocities against STs is different from those against SCs. SCs, who are a minority of the population across India – but a majority of agricultural and other labourers – are often isolated from other labourers by the design and working of the Indian caste system and practices of ‘untouchability’. They are typically subjected to attacks by members of land-owning and other dominant castes. Most Adivasi people, on the other hand, live in tribal areas where they often constitute a majority of the population, and are rarely physically attacked. Atrocities on STs are committed typically by misuse of the forest, police and revenue departments by persons from powerful castes, and increasingly corporates, who deprive them of their lands and other resources. On account of their marginalized status, many Adivasi communities have also been slower to utilise the PoA Act, compared to Dalits.
In this context, the formal complaints made by 98 men and women from villages in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, at the SC and ST Welfare Special Police Station in Raigarh on 14 June 2017 is a landmark. The villagers alleged that they had been forced to sell their lands through threats, intimidation, coercion and misinformation, to agents of TRN Energy, a subsidiary of ACB India Power Ltd., and Mahavir Energy Coal Beneficiation Limited, operating in collusion with local land-registration officials. This is perhaps the first time that such an initiative has been taken by Adivasis in India in substantial numbers.
I understand that the Chhattisgarh police first instituted preliminary enquiries, (misunderstanding/misinterpreting the Supreme Court judgment in Lalita Kumari vs Govt. of U.P. & Others case), and finally refused to register the FIRs, claiming that no cognizable offences were made out.
The prompt registration of an FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) if the information discloses commission of a cognisable offence, and no preliminary enquiry is permissible in such a situation. Therefore, an FIR ought to have been registered straightaway without further delay. The circumstances of Adivasis are such that they cannot be faulted for not having made the complaint as soon as the offence took place. The blame for their not knowing that there is an Act to protect them lies with the successive governments which have kept them in a state of educational deprivation. The reason for the refusal to register FIRs seem to lie elsewhere.
The Gram Sabhas (village assemblies) in the affected villages of Khokhraaoma, Katangdi, Bhengari and Nawapara Tenda had passed resolutions in 2014 and 2015 stating that their lands have been purchased through fraud and coercion. Under Section 3 (i) v of the POA Act, occupying the land of an SC or ST or dispossessing them of their land is punishable with imprisonment for up to five years. Further, the transfer of tribal lands to non-tribals in Chhattisgarh is prohibited under the Chhattisgarh Land Revenue Code 1959. Another protective provision can be found in the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), which requires consultations with Gram Sabhas to be held prior to land acquisition in Scheduled Areas.
The mandates of Article 46 and other ST-related constitutional provisions, legislations and regulations bind both the State and Central Governments. In the case of Scheduled Areas, the Governor of a State has a special and direct responsibility.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently set the right tone by announcing that nobody has the right to dispossess tribals of their lands and mining should be done without any adverse effect on their surface cultivation rights. Under Article 256, the Government of India has the power to give directions to a State to ensure compliance with any law made by Parliament. Further, Article 339 (2) empowers the Union to give directions to a State in respect of the welfare of STs. These vast powers should be used by the Central Government.
The State Government also has its own responsibilities with regard to protecting the rights of Adivasis. These powers should be effectively utilised to see that justice is done. The provisions of the POA Act, the Chhattisgarh Land Revenue Code and the PESA must be implemented. If these instruments are enabled by the state and central governments to succeed, Adivasis will increasingly begin to utilize legal provisions democratically to secure their rights, and cease being attracted to the idea of violent uprisings.
The example of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, who make up about 4.3% of the population in that country, is worth noting. These communities, like indigenous communities all over the world, have also suffered exploitation, deprivation and abuse. But they have learnt to increasingly resort to courts, alliances with environment groups and targeted protests against mining companies to secure their rights. This has helped them secure many victories, including an unqualified apology by Canada’s then Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons on June 11, 2008. In September this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted to the UN that his country had not done enough to help Indigenous peoples. Much more needs to be done in Canada, including ensuring that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities is sought in advance of mining on their land. (For, as in India, in Canada too mineral wealth is concentrated in tribal areas.) But indigenous peoples in Canada have been able to get their voice heard on issues including job creation, sustainability in projects, etc.
The proportion of indigenous people in India is about double that of Canada. In Chhattisgarh, the indigenous population is 30.6%. Communities here can be as, or even more, effective if they are able to systematically utilise the powerful legislations already existing in India.
It must be an urgent task for the central and state governments to enforce the laws protecting land-related and other rights of Adivasis, as they are constitutionally bound to do. In the Raigarh case, by ensuring that quick action is taken, tribal land rights are restored and compensation for past losses given, the Government will be taking a practical step towards fulfilling its constitutional mandate of social justice
The media, which appears to have not taken too much notice of this significant development, must also disseminate and build up support for this initiative. Local organisations like Adivasi Dalit Mazdoor Kisan Sangarsh, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, Sarva Adivasi Samaj and Amnesty International India who have supported this pioneering Adivasi initiative deserve appreciation and encouragement.
It will be useful for local and national organisations to consider this route of helping indigenous Adivasi communities to learn about constitutional provisions, laws and schemes, and work with them to secure their rights and entitlements through peaceful and effective mobilisation of Adivasis and their supporters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Amnesty International India.
With regard to the article “Gujarat among those states that witness minimum Dalit atrocities: Amit Shah”, published on 10 September, BJP President Amit Shah’s statement is false. Over 1,000 cases of crimes against members of Scheduled Castes were reported to the police in Gujarat in 2015 alone. Gujarat ranks 11th among states in terms of the rate of cognizable crimes against Dalits, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau. On convictions for these crimes, it is among the three worst states. For years, Gujarat has had a conviction rate of about 5% for crimes against Scheduled Castes, about six times lower than the national average. Civil society groups in Gujarat have pointed out that many crimes against Dalits often go unreported to the police, for fear of reprisal. Many others, even when they are reported, are not registered by police personnel.
This comes as an urgent appeal to you seeking support and solidarity for Mr. Prabhakar Gwal. Gwal has been a well known people’s judge from Chhattisgarh. Gwal a Chief Judicial Magistrate who was known for his integrity was dismissed in April 2016. He was last posted as Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sukma where from he was dismissed from his services by state government.
Who is Prabhakar Gwal?
Prabhakar Gwal has been born in a Ganda community in a small village namely Nanakpali, near Saraipali of Mahasamund district. A community and region which has a history of bonded labour He has come up through all the pains his parents faced and bore the burden of the social system of caste in every day life from his childhood. After completing his early studies, he joined for law and become a lawyer. He practiced for 10 years after which he joined the judicial service in 2006. Life as an untouchable has given him the orientation on socio-cultural and political patterns of Indian society, which reflected in his tenure as a judge.
Gwal had reputation of an upright judge who had become an eyesore for the powerful politicians and bureaucrats, as he took cognisance of corruption related complaints and took strong action. He has questioned the manner in which the police have been indiscriminately arresting tribals in the conflict zones of Chhattisgarh.
What was his crime for the termination?
Gwal came into limelight after his remarkable judgement in which he sentenced five persons to six years imprisonment each in a case relating to leakage of question papers of PMT, being conducted by Chhattisgarh Professional Examination Board or Vyapam, in 2011. He passed the order as Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Bilaspur.
In August 2015 he passed orders for to file an FIR and subsequent investigation into the role of the then SP and current IG of Raipur, Deepanshu Kabra and another police officer for their role in attempting to suppress evidence in the case. After this, an attempt was made to intimidate him by a local BJP MLA who had been a subordinate of the SP.
He has had a history of exposing corrupt officials and politicians. While Gwal was posted in Bilaspur, he had ordered an inquiry against government officials and Police officers, for the infamous ‘Bhadaura Land-Scam’. The land scam is known for involvement of a senior minister of BJP (Amar Agrawal). Similarly, he had ordered for inquiry of Bilaspur RTO officials. He was then transferred to Raipur, where he rejected to accept Closure Report in the case of Rahul Sharma’s suicide.
Gwal had filed a complaint of intimidation against the BJP MLA and DeepanshuKabra in his personal capacity at the local police station. After this all hell broke loose and instead of action against the BJP MLA and Kabra, the High Court issued a show cause notice to Gwalwhich claimed that he has violated rules under C.G. Civil Service Conduct Rule, 1965, under which they claimed that he was required to seek permission of the High Court before filing such an FIR against the BJP MLA and the police officer. An adverse order was passed against him without any inquiry and his one-year annual increment was cancelled as penalty.
As a punishment, Gwal was transferred to Sukma district as CJM, in Bastar division. In September 2015, he took charges where he was subjected to unfair treatment by police and administration right from the beginning. The police and local administration did not provide him the usual security allocated for judges in conflict areas. In his tenure as a judge in Sukma, he realised early on how the police were carrying out large scale arrests and surrenders of what seemed to be innocent Adivasis. Not only did he conduct fair and speedy trials, he also brought to the notice of the higher judiciary the conduct of the police in Bastar region.
In keeping with his fearless attitude and his adherence to the facts and the law, Gwal also passed orders indicting a school in Sukma district for taking inordinately high fees. After he took cognizance in this case he received a call (of which he has an audio recording) from the District Collector who said that he should consult him before passing such judgments. After receiving this call, Gwal wrote to the District Judge and Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh, notifying them about the phone call from Collector where he explained that there was an attempt to interfere in judicial process and to influence the court. No action was taken upon his complaint. Instead he received multiple show cause notices as a response to his complaints against some of the sitting judges in the lower judiciary.
This was because this upright and dutiful judicial officer would insist on asking the name, age, village, father’s name and all relevant details of those arrested; mostly poor and innocent Adivasis who were produced before him. Rather than accepting the regular practice till then of permanent warrants produced by the police which contained no other details other than the name of the arrestee, Gwal chose to stick to procedure. He would also make it difficult for the police by cross examining about the alleged seizures including weapons and their activities. When it became obvious that the police could not establish any crime against those arrested, he would conclude that those arrested are ordinary villagers. Gwal went to the extent of communicating directly to those arrested through a Gondi interpreter, the language the arrestee understood.
This judge was so fearless that he would term the arrests of thousands of people being produced before him as Maoists as fake arrests; he wrote to the District Judge and even Director General of Police Kalluri that the police is implicating innocent people. He went to the extent of issuing warnings to Thanedars that he would send them to jail if they framed innocent people.
In short, the BJP-led government in Chattisgarh prepared an all-out war pro-people officials and Prabhakar Gwal turned out to be a victim of the nefarious design. The people of Bastar viewed a ray of hope in Judge Prabhakar Gwal, in otherwise bleak scenario of displacement and large scale repression. In a conflict zone like the Bastar, where due systems and guarantees, and law and order have been completely torn off, it needs a great amount of courage to challenge the vested interests and powerful sections to remain independent in a polarised atmosphere. The casual removal of a district judge, in contravention of procedure appears to reveal the interference of the government and the police in the judiciary to the worst.
The Termination Process
On the April 4, 2016 Judge Prabhakar Gwal received an automated message on his phone. He was in fact removed by an order of the High Court on April 1, 2016. The message said he had been dismissed from his post as Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sukma, Chhattisgarh in ‘public interest.’ The official letter, that he later received, stated that the State Government on the recommendation of the full bench of the High Court of Chhattisgarh had dismissed him under Article 311 (2) of the Indian Constitution. The order stated no reasons or charges for his dismissal apart from that his removal was in public interest. Prior to his dismissal, Gwal had faced a series of irregular transfers; show cause notices, though what lead to this dismissal is still unclear.
The Present Crisis
Prabhakar Gwal’s plight did not end up with his termination. His woes continued to haunt him on a consistent basis. Life is too difficult for him and he is a person of integrity and self respect that he would not express it to anyone in the world. Many of his dues have either not been provided or got entangled in procedural circus. Financial crisis is haunting him day in and day out as the day-to-day expense is turning out to be a serious affair. His two children studying in schools are at the verge of being thrown off the school. He appeal in the High Court has been dismissed. This is the context under which this appeal comes.
I appeal to you to express your support and solidarity in terms of –
a) Legal support to pursue his case in higher forums and courts
b) Financial support for children’s education and his personal support
I am also hereby providing the bank details of Mr. Prabhakar Gwal in case you want to come up with some sort of financial support. No more
State Bank of India
For further details please follow the links listed below
LET US TOGETHER UPHOLD THIS BOLD AND BRILLIANT DALIT JURIST
Dr. Goldy M. George
Chhattisgarh Nagrik Sanyukt Sangarsh Samiti
NP: Kindly speak to him in Hindi
Name of the Victims: Maggidi Buchhamma, 70 years and her daughter Maggidi Manga
Dominant Caste Culprits: Balta Rjamouli his Son and Allam Ravi
When: 23rd July 2017, Sunday, morning Where: Rendlaguda (Mandapally), Jannaram Mandal, Mancherial District, Telangana
Why: Maggidi Buchamma and her daughter Maggidi Manga went to the house of Balta Rajamouli on 23rd July 2017 morning to ask their land documents back which they are duped and cheated.
Background: Maggidi Buchamma was gifted 3 Guntas of land by her son in law Late Bade Lingaiah in early 2006, who owns 50 Guntas of land in Sy no 29 of Vempally , Kothapally Shivar near Mancherial Town. In october 2006, elder daughter of Buchamma committed suicide. After 3 days of her daugher suicide, Being same villager, Baltha Rajamouli a dominantcaste man approached Buchamma and told her that she will get money as compensation for the death of her daughter and took her in his car to Mancherial town. In Mancherial town, Rajamouli asked Buchamma to sign on some papers. That time Buchamma was not aware that she was signing sale deeds of the land extend 50 Guntas belongs to his son in law in Sy.No 29 Vempally, Kothapally shivar. After some days, Rajamouli asked Buchamma that she need to submit her land papers to release of the compensation cheque that awarded for the death of her daughter. Buchamma gave documents of her land. But there was no compensation or he gave back her land documents. Rajamouli, Kasam Sathaiah and other land mafia managed the local administration and registered entire land on the name of Thota Rajaiah first and then sold it to others. When the land owner Bade Lingaiah came to know about this, he challanged this forgery and cheating of land mafia. According to Buchamma, Bade Lingaiah was unable to bare this cheating and loss of land he died of heart attack in 2010. Then onwards Bade Lingaiah wife Bade Raju pursuing the case and going around the official praying for getting her land back. Bade Raju approached police officials as there was no response from revenue officials. Mancherial DSP asked Naspur police to look into the matter. On 10th July 2017, Naspur police called Buchamma and asked her that she has signed on the documents of sale of entire land belongs to Bade Lingaiah though she was only gited 3 Guntas of land. Shocked knowing this, Buchamma went to Balthe Rajamouli house on 23rd July 2017 along with her daughter and asked what he did with her land documents.
Immidiately, Balthe Rajamouli, his son and Allam Ravi started beating both of them and abused on the name of their caste also threatened to kill if they pursue the case further.
In another case, Balthe Rajamouli enchroahced assigned land of husband of Buchamma, Late Maggidi Lingaiah and sold it to Allam Ravi. When Buchamma filed case with District collector, he ordered land to be restored to Buchamma. A surveyor from District collector office came to the land site and measured the land also asked Buchamma to arrange the identification poles around the land, and Buchamma did the same. On very next day night all boundary polls from the land was removed by Allam Ravi and Balthe Rajamouli.
Buchamma approached Sub Inspector of Police and Assistant Commissioner of police but police not registerd case against the culprits. However, the culprits threated to kill Buchamma and Maggidi Manga in the Jannaram police station in the presence of Police officials, but police did nothing about it. The victims Maggidi Buchamma and Maggidi Manga came to Hyderabad on 25th July 2017 and met with Home Minister of Telangana Naini Narshimha Reddy and submitted a petition for his intervention
Deepak Kumar, National President of Malamahanadu and Rajeshwar, President of Ambedkar Youth Association, Jannaram Mandal in Mancherial District. The home miniter called the police officials and asked to do the needful. But the culprits are politically and economically influential and earlier threatened to kill Maggidi Manga in the presence of police in Jannaram Police station.
What you can do: Call officials, sms or write email to SP and Collector of Mancherial District with Below message, change it according to the facts of the case if needed.
The Collector and Superintendent of Police Mancherial District, Telangana State, India
I came to know that two Dalit women Maggidi Buchamma 70 years and her daughter Maggidi Manga were beaten up and threatened to kill by the dominant caste men Baltha Rajamouli his son and Allam Ravi in Rendlaguda village, Jannaram Mandala in Mancherial District. When the women asked for their land documents back for which they were cheated of their land. Jannaram Local police joined the accused and threatened the victims to book a counter case on them. We urge you to provide security to both Dalit women and initiate legal action against the culprits. Also take necessary steps to get back the land to the victims.
Sri RV Karnan,District Collector, Phone Number – 09492120800 Email -firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Sri Jhon Wesley Deputy Commissioner of Police Phone Number – 09440795021 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Commissioner of Police – Mancherial – 09959337999
Circle Inspector of Police: 09440795047
Sub inspector of Police Jannaram – 09440795050
For more details please speak in Telugu with: Maggidi Manga, Daughter of Maggidi Buchamma – 07997563108
Rajeshwar, Ambedkar Youth Association, Jannaram – 09494455933
Deepak Kumar, National President, Mala Mahanadu, Hyderbad – 09291263009
15 June 2017, 03:52PM
On 14 June, over 80 Adivasis from four villages in Raigarh district came together at the district’s Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare (Special) Police Station to lodge complaints against people they said were agents of two companies – Mahavir Energy Coal Beneficiation Limited (MECBL) and TRN Energy Private Limited a subsidiary of ACB (India) Power Limited, for unlawfully dispossessing them from their lands.
The complaint – Unlawful dispossession of Adivasi lands.
The Adivasis hoped to file FIRs (First Information Reports) against unlawful dispossession of hundreds of acres of their land through coercion and fraud. The complaints have been accepted. But the FIRs have not been registered. The police say they want to conduct a preliminary enquiry first.
Amnesty International India – along with civil society groups and the community on the ground – is campaigning #ForIndigenousRightsby urging the authorities to register FIRs and investigate the allegations.
For some time now, according to Adivasi villagers from four villages in Raigarh, agents allegedly acting on behalf of the two companies have resorted to threats, intimidation, coercion and misinformation, to force them off their land. Gram sabhas (village assemblies) in the affected villages have passed resolutions in 2015 and 2016 stating that their lands had been purchased through fraud and coercion. This in spite of Raigarh being notified as a ‘scheduled area’ under the Fifth Schedule of India’s Constitution, which has special safeguards around the transfer of Adivasi lands. These safeguards have been totally bypassed in these cases.
Several members of local communities in the villages of Khokhraaoma, Katangdi, Bhengari and Nawapara Tenda, narrate how they have been allegedly forced into selling their land to people acting as agents for the companies.
Karamsingh Rathia, an Adivasi from Katangdi village, says: “The company people came to me and asked to sell my land. I refused to sell, but a middleman said that since my land was in the middle of the proposed company site, I had to sell it. They frequently visited me and compelled me to sell. They also threatened our family… Now TRN has constructed a chimney there.”
Pavitri Manjhi, the sarpanch of Benghari village, says: “When the villagers refused to sell their land, the mediators said that the state government had already given the village to TRN. And if they did not sell their land, the company would occupy it and dump iron, ash and coal over it, and villagers would get nothing.”
Amnesty International India’s letter to TRN Energy (on 27 April) and MECBL (on 3 May) seeking their reply to the allegations of Adivasi communities met with no response.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
The SC & ST (POA) Act (The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act) – a special law to protect the rights of Dalits and Adivasis – criminalizes the wrongful dispossession or interference with the lands of SCs and STs. In January 2016, Parliament passed an amendment to the Act, which states that “wrongfully” includes dispossession or interference done “against the person’s will”, “without the person’s consent”, or “with the person’s consent where such consent has been obtained by putting the person, or any other person in whom person is interested, in fear of death or hurt”. The POA obligates the police to register all complaints which allege violations of Adivasi rights.
On 9 May, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) directed action to be taken under the SC & ST (POA) Act in cases where Adivasi land was transferred to other people through forgery. The order followed recent allegations that over 300 acres (121 hectares) of Adivasi land had been unlawfully transferred to non-Adivasis in Kunkuni village, Raigarh between 2009 and 2015.
Under international human rights law and standards, states have an obligation to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent on decisions that affect them. This right is recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and also by UN treaty bodies interpreting the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, , to all of which India is a state party.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Join hands #ForIndigenousRights. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Displacement of Adivasis without their consent is a criminal offence. Urge the Chhattisgarh police to take immediate action by registering FIRs, and investigating the allegations.