Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

SC/ST (PoA) Act Monitoring at the state level

2,748 views

Published on

Monitoring the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 at the state level.

Part of a comprehensive set of monitoring tools available here: http://openspace.org.in/SCSTPOAMonitoringTools

Published in: Law
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

SC/ST (PoA) Act Monitoring at the state level

  1. 1. Monitoring SCs and STs (POA) Act at the state level To monitor the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and Rules 1995 (POA) there are mechanisms at the state and district levels. The state level mechanism is the state level vigilance and monitoring committee, SVMC (Rule 16 of the POA). In addition, the state is required to issue certain notifications and take preventive action. In this first stage of monitoring at the state level, we will only ensure that the planned events or tasks are being done at the mandated times by the mandated authorities. The quality is not monitored at this stage. Once the state of inertia is transformed to momentum, we will move on to quality issues. As a norm, ask for the information personally and even encourage the concerned department to put it on their website suo moto under RTI. If they do not comply, file a request under RTI. Put up scanned copies of any information that you get under RTI on your own webpage or on a file sharing site (slideshare, dropbox etc) in a dedicated channel with the appropriate tags. 1 Mandatory gazette notifications 1. The government has to make the following gazette notifications. (a) Notification of atrocity prone areas ‘area where it has reason to believe that atrocity may take place or apprehension’ that an atrocity may take place [3(1)]. (b) Panel of Public Prosecutors or panel of eminent Senior Advocates as Special Public Prosecutor for the purpose of conducting cases under this Act and Rules [4(1)]. This is done every three years. (c) Setting up of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Protection Cell [8]. (d) Appointing the state nodal officer for coordinating the officials responsible for implementing the Act and reviewing their performance (normally the Principal Secretary, Social Welfare) [9]. (e) Name and designation of the Special Officer in the atrocity prone area [10]. This would typically State level monitoring CMASK 2013; page [1] mobile: +91.80.8850.6595 email: training@openspace.org.in be at the district level. (f) Constitution of the state-level vigilance and monitoring committee (SVMC) [16(1)]. This would need to be done after every election/change in government. (g) Government notification of the constitution of the district-level vigilance and monitoring committee (DVMC) [17(1)]. This should have the names of all the members and designations [17(2)]. Note that some are ex-officio members, and this will have to be mentioned. (h) State contingency plan for preventive action which will include the mandatory minimum relief and rehabilitation measures as notified in the official gazette of the state government [15(1)]. This can be got from any district magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate, inspector of police or superintendent of police, since they will have a copy [15(2)]. Check whether the contingency plan is sufficient to ‘prevent atrocities and to restore the feeling of security amongst the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes’ and schemes ‘for strengthening the socioeconomic condition of the victim’ apart from immediate relief. (i) Setting up an exclusive or designated Special Court to try cases under this Act [S14]. It is sufficient if you get this notification for your district. 2. Get copies of the notifications. If they have not been notified, request that they be notified to the nodal officer. If the nodal officer has not been appointed request the chief minister/minister for social welfare/justice to appoint the nodal officer, who should then be lobbied to issue the notifications. (Lobbying the nodal officer is in addition to the chief minister and the social justice minister). 3. Ask for the criteria for 13(1) that the administrative officers and other staff members posted in an area prone to atrocity shall have ‘the right aptitude and understanding of the problems of the SCs and STs’. 4. Ask for the criteria to assess 13(2) that ‘SCs and STs are adequately represented in the administration and in the police force at all levels, particularly at the level of police posts and police station’. Ask also for the posting details (at least the number of SCs, STs and Others) in each police station of the area you are monitoring. 2 Preventive action 5. This Act is to prevent atrocities. The details of the preventive action are specified in Rule 3i – xi. Ask for the details of their implementation for the period under monitoring. This is in addition to the mandatory gazette notifications. 6. Number and details of arms licenses cancelled in the atrocity prone areas [3(iii)] and the details of the arms thus deposited in the government armoury.
  2. 2. 7. Number and details of arms licenses provided to the members of the Scheduled Castes and the State level monitoring CMASK 2013; page [2] mobile: +91.80.8850.6595 email: training@openspace.org.in Scheduled Tribes [3(v)]. 8. Number, details (including contact details) of awareness centres set up to educate the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes about their rights and the protection available to them under the provisions of various Central and State enactments or rules, regulations and schemes framed thereunder [3(viii)] 9. Number, details (including resource persons, participants and study material details) and expenses of awareness workshops conducted to educate the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes about their rights and the protection available to them under the provisions of various Central and State enactments or rules, regulations and schemes framed thereunder [3(viii)] 10. Number, details, finance provided and programmes conducted by non-government organisations for establishing and maintaining awareness centres and organising workshops, financial and other sort of assistance and encouragement provided [3(ix)]. You would need to know: (a) Which NGOs were paid how much to do what? (b) What did they actually do? (c) Who certifies that they have done it? (d) What is the evidence (reports, photographs etc). 3 Monthly reports 11. There are two monthly reports [4(4) and 8(xi)] that are to be submitted before 20th day of each subsequent month, which will specify the action that will be taken. However, there is a slight difference between them, and they should not be confused. Under no circumstances should they be taken to mean one and the same, as most governments do. They are two different reports, with two different functions. (a) The report by the District Magistrate and the Officer-in-charge of the prosecution at the District level is submitted to the Director of Prosecution and the State Government. This report shall specify the actions taken/proposed to be taken in respect of investigation and prosecution of each case [4(4)]. (b) The SCs and STs protection cell submits a monthly report to the nodal officer about the action taken proposed to be taken, in respect of the above [8(xi)]. There are several significant differences in this report—the most important being that it is much more comprehensive in that it also reports on 8(i) to 8(x). Reviewing the position of cases registered under the Act [8(x)] is only one of the eleven components of this comprehensive report. (c) The report under Rule 8 will have (i) if any survey has been conducted of the identified (atrocity prone) area; (ii) maintaining public order and tranquillity in the identified area; (iii) recommendations for deployment of special police force or establishment of special police post in the identified area; (iv) making investigations about the probable causes leading to an offence under the Act; (v) restoring the feeling of security amongst the members of the SCs and STs; (vi) information about the law and order situation in the identified area; (vii) the investigation and spot inspections conducted by various officers; (viii) action taken by the Superintendent of Police in the cases where an officer in-charge of the police station has refused to enter an information in a book to be maintained by that police station under sub-rule (3) of rule 5; (ix) reports of enquiries about the wilful negligence by a public servant; (x) reviewing the position of cases registered under the Act, and (xi) the action taken proposed to be taken, in respect of the above. 12. Get a copy of each of these reports on a monthly basis. Request for the report of any previous month after the 20th. (For instance on 21 April 2010 you can ask for the monthly report for any month from 1 January 1996 to 31 March 2010. On 21 May 2010 you can ask for the monthly report for any month from 1 January 1996 to 30 April 2010). 13. It is likely that the departments will deny information on the pretext that it is information on pending investigations. Appeal to the first appellate authority, and then to the state information commission. 14. In the meantime, pending appeal, file RTI requests to know the date on which the reports were received by the Director of Prosecution and the nodal officer for the whole calendar year. This information cannot be denied. 4 Quarterly reviews 15. Two rules deal with reviews to be done ‘by the end of every quarter’. Of them, 7(3) is more specific and 3(xi) is comprehensive. We will need to use both in combination to monitor.
  3. 3. 16. Rule 7(3) specifies that the review has to be done by the Home Secretary and the Social Welfare Secretary to the State Government, Director of Prosecution, the officer-in-charge of prosecution and the Director-General of Police. Rule 3(xi) mentions the generic and vague ‘state government’. 17. Rule 7(3) is only for the review of the position of all investigations done by the investigating officer. Rule 3(xi) is a more comprehensive review of the law and order situation, functioning of different committees, performance of Special Public Prosecutors, Investigating Officers and other Officers responsible for implementing the provisions of the Act and the cases registered under the Act. 18. Most states club the two reviews. Get the review report(s). 19. For every investigating officer (IO), the review shall cover the number of: (a) Cases investigated. (b) Cases for which investigation is completed within 30 days [7(2)] (c) Cases for which charge sheet has been filed. (d) Cases for which B reports (mistake of fact or false) have been filed. (e) Accused in FIR. (f) Accused in charge sheet. (g) Cases ending in conviction. (h) Accused acquitted (including in the cases for which there is conviction). (i) Whether the acquittal was because of poor investigation. This is not explicitly mentioned in the Act, but a review of the position of the cases and the performance of the investigating officers [3(xi)] would entail this at the very minimum. 20. For every DVMC, the review will cover (a) Date on which the meeting was conducted. (b) Members present. (c) Whether there are habitual absentees. (d) Whether the DC has conducted the meeting on time. (e) Whether the DC has a record of delay or not conducting the DVMC meetings. 5 Half yearly reviews 21. The performance of the Special Public Prosecutors is reviewed in the months of January and July at two levels. (a) At the district level by the District Magistrate and the Director of prosecution/in charge of the prosecution and submit a report to the State Government.[4(2)] (b) At the State Government level [14] 22. For every Special Public Prosecutor (SPP), the DM and DP shall review the number of: (a) Cases argued. (b) Cases ending in conviction. (c) Accused in charge sheet. (d) Accused acquitted (including in the cases for which there is conviction). (e) Whether the acquittal is because of the case being weakly argued without due care, caution or State level monitoring CMASK 2013; page [3] mobile: +91.80.8850.6595 email: training@openspace.org.in preparation. This is not explicitly mentioned in the Act, but a review of the role of the SPP would entail this at the very minimum. They can call for the report submitted to the state government on the performance of the SPPs in January and July [4(2)], which will (should) contain this information. 23. If the review by the state government [14] of the report submitted by the district [4(2)] concludes that there is reason to believe that a Special Public Prosecutor has not conducted the case to the best of his ability with due care and caution, his name may be, for reasons to be recorded in writing, denotified. Ask for the details of those so denotified in the period under review. 6 Monitoring the SVMC 6.1 Setting up the SVMC [Rule 16(1)] 24. The State Government shall constitute high power vigilance and monitoring committee of not more than 25 members. 25. The state vigilance and monitoring committee (SVMC) has to be notified with every change in government. Use RTI to ask for the notification setting up the SVMC after every change in government.
  4. 4. 6.2 Members of the SVMC [Rule 16(2)] 26. The high power vigilance and monitoring committee shall consist of the following: (a) Chief Minister/Administrator-Chairman (in case of a State under President’s Rule Governor- State level monitoring CMASK 2013; page [4] mobile: +91.80.8850.6595 email: training@openspace.org.in Chairman). (b) Home Minister, Finance Minister and Welfare Minister-Members (in case of a State under the President’s Rule Advisors-Members); (c) All elected Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council from the State belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes- Members (d) Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Director-General of Police, Director/ Deputy Director, National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes- Members; (e) Secretary in-charge of the welfare and development of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes- Convener. 6.3 Meetings [Rule 16(3)] 27. The high power vigilance and monitoring committee shall meet at least twice in a calendar year, in the month of January and July to review the implementation of the provisions of the Act, relief and rehabilitation facilities provided to the victims and other matters connected therewith, prosecution of cases under the Act, rule of different officers/agencies responsible for implementing the provisions of the Act and various reports received by the State Government. 28. If the meeting is not convened in January and July, remind the state nodal officer [9] and the Chief Minister of neglect of duties. 29. Follow up the letter after three months with a request under RTI asking for the action taken report on your complaint. 6.4 Meeting agenda and role of the SVMC [Rule 17(1)] 30. The meetings of the SVMC are restricted only to the members of the SVMC and to the specific purpose under the Act and Rules.. 31. The SVMC shall review [14] (a) Performance of the Special Public Prosecutors. (b) Various reports received (these would mean under Rule 8, 4(2). (c) Investigation made and preventive steps taken by the District Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Superintendent of Police. (d) Relief and rehabilitation facilities provided to the victims. (e) Reports in respect of lapses on behalf of the concerned officers. (f) Various reports received or reviews conducted by the State under 4(2), 4(4), 6, 7(3), 8 and 9. 32. The SVMC reviews are critical to ensure that the government can fulfil its duties that the (a) Administrative officers and other staff members posted in an area prone to atrocity shall have the right aptitude and understanding of the problems of the SCs and STs [13(1)]. (b) SCs and STs are adequately represented in the administration and in the police force at all levels, particularly at the level of police posts and police station [13(2)]. 33. The report under Rule 8 will have (a) If any survey has been conducted of the identified (atrocity prone) area; [8(i)] (b) Maintaining public order and tranquillity in the identified area; [8(ii)] (c) Recommendations for deployment of special police force or establishment of special police post in the identified area; [8(iii)] (d) Making investigations about the probable causes leading to an offence under the Act; [8(iv)] (e) Restoring the feeling of security amongst the members of the SCs and STs; [8(v)] (f) Information about the law and order situation in the identified area; [8(vi)] (g) The investigation and spot inspections conducted by various officers; [8(vii)] (h) Action taken by the Superintendent of Police in the cases where an officer in-charge of the police station has refused to enter an information in a book to be maintained by that police station under sub-rule (3) of rule 5; [8(viii)] (i) Reports of enquiries about the wilful negligence by a public servant [8(ix)] (j) Reviewing the position of cases registered under the Act [8(x)] (k) The action taken proposed to be taken, in respect of the above. [8(xi)] 34. The review under Rule 9 will have (in addition to the matter in the report under Rule 8) (a) Adequacy of immediate facilities, legal aid, travelling allowance, daily allowance and transport facilities provided to the victims of atrocity of his/her dependents; [9(v)]
  5. 5. (b) The performance of non-governmental organizations [9(v)]. (c) The performance of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Protection Cell [9(v)]. (d) The performance of various committees and the public servants responsible for implementing the 35. For every investigating officer (IO), the SVMC shall review the number of: (a) Cases investigated. (b) Cases for which investigation is completed within 30 days [7(2)] (c) Cases for which charge sheet has been filed. (d) Accused in FIR. (e) Accused in charge sheet. (f) Cases ending in conviction. (g) Accused acquitted (including in the cases for which there is conviction). This would be in the report of the review under Rule 8 and the review under 7(3). 36. For every Special Public Prosecutor (SPP), the SVMC shall review [14] the number of: (a) Cases argued. (b) Cases ending in conviction. (c) Accused in charge sheet. (d) Accused acquitted (including in the cases for which there is conviction). The report submitted to the state government on the performance of the SPPs in January and July [4(2)], and the review conducted in 9(v) will (should) contain this information. (e) Any action taken under 4(3), though it might be covered under 8(ix) also. 37. For every judge hearing cases under this Act (whether designated special court or not), the DVMC shall review the number of: (a) Cases listed. (b) Cases heard. (c) Cases ending in conviction. (d) Accused in charge sheet. (e) Accused acquitted (including in the cases for which there is conviction). This is not explicitly mentioned in the Act, but a review of the role of the judge would entail this at the very minimum. Some judges have a 100% acquittal rate, and obviously would fall short of the requirement of Rule 13(1). 38. It is important to track both the number of cases ending in conviction and the number of accused convicted since even in the cases ending in conviction 9 out of 10 accused may be acquitted (i.e. 90% acquittal). 39. Remind the nodal officer that he has to convene the SVMC meeting [16(v)] by sending a reminder on 1 November and 1 May every year. This will give them sufficient time to coordinate dates with the other dignitaries well in advance. 40. Ask for a copy of the minutes of the SVMC meetings on the 15th of February and 15th August every 41. If the SVMC meeting has not been conducted ask (a) To inspect the concerned file [RTI 2005 S2(j)(i)] and note the reason why not [RTI 2005 S2(j)(ii)]. (b) For the action taken report (ATR) on your reminder sent on 1 November or 1 May. 7 Annual report 42. Ask for the annual report forwarded by the state government to the Government of India about the measures taken for implementing provisions of the Act and various schemes/plans framed by it during the previous calendar year. This report is to be sent every year before the 31st March [18]. You can ask for this report under RTI anytime after 1 April for the previous year. (For instance on 1 April 2010 you can ask for the annual report for any year from 1995 to 2009. On 1 April 2012 you can ask for any report from 1995 till 2011). 43. The Government of India tables in each House of Parliament a report on the measures taken by itself and by the state governments [S21 (4)]. Ask for this report and see if the sections covering your state match that of the state report and your experience. —oO(end of document)Oo— State level monitoring CMASK 2013; page [5] provisions of the Act [9(v)]. year. Follow it up till you get it. mobile: +91.80.8850.6595 email: training@openspace.org.in

×