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Clear case of misuse of SCST Act, 1989

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ADGP P Ravindranath, in the dock for allegedly taking objectionable photos of a woman, has accused city police commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar of practising "untouchability" against him, a Scheduled Caste member.

Ravindranath lodged a complaint to this effect with Cubbon Park police station on Thursday evening. The ADGP, who was Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) head, was on Monday morning caught taking photos of a freelance journalist in a cafe on Cunningham Road. He has since been transferred, without being given a posting.

Thursday's complaint accuses Auradkar, DCP (Central) B R Ravikanthe Gowda and High Grounds police sub-inspector M S Ravi of falsely implicating him in the case. The police have registered an FIR on the basis of the complaint, police sources said, adding the case may be referred to the CID.

- - - "But you told me we will go to the DG&IGP, I accompanied you. At the portico of the commissioner's office, I told you, 'Can I sit in your vehicle?', and you said to me, 'It is my car, you cannot sit'. Further you moved away from me, treating me as untouchable, and ran away from the portico and asked your driver to come to the gate of the commissioner's office, where you boarded the car and left for the DG's office. This shows you have practised untouchability on me since I am a member of a Scheduled Caste," the ADGP said.

Ravindranath said the commissioner forced the woman to lodge a complaint against him and implicated him in a false case, committing an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.


For the full text of the report in the ToI, click here.

Anybody can readily see that this is a clear-cut case of misuse of the provisions of the Act, plainly to deflect the blame the complainant is accused of. And, this is not the first time this is happening; in fact, it has become the order of the day.

A friend tells me about how he and his family were left traumatised, when, as the Secretary of his apartment complex, he took some disciplinary action against a watchman, on the basis of repeat complaints from members, for which he in turn was faced with charges under the SCST Act, the punishments prescribed being extremely stringent. Apparently, he managed to extricate himself from the situation by the skin of his teeth.

Wiki here says "The common denominator of the offences is that criminal liability can only be established if the offence is committed by a person who is not a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe against a person who belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe". While the Act and its further amendments may have been enacted with good intentions, if it is seen to be rampantly misused, as in the present case, perhaps it's time the entire matter is reviewed impartially.

As for ADGP P Ravindranath, one can't see any redemption for him.

Muralidhar Rao

PS: I wonder if I myself am sticking my neck out too far by publishing this blog. And, as such, I wonder too as to how many people will want to comment on it.

Comments

Promod Kapur's picture

Clear case of misuse of SCST Act, 1989

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I entirely agree with Muralidhar Rao. I am also aware of gross misuse of the provisions. In fact it is not unknown that at some, if not most police stations, staff have perfected the process for extortion, given half an opportunity. It all stems from the assupmtion that in our country some people are classified superior or inferior in society, and the propensity of the political class to turn every opportunity for encouraging politics of identies. It helps them to perpetuate the assumption, which now has become an exercise of settling personal, professional or commercial scores.

Manohar Elavarthi's picture

SC ST Act is not implemented properly by dominant caste rulers

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I am not getting into the present caste. Let their be a fair investigation. Using any one/ few case(s) to make sweeping statements about the 'mis use' of Act is not correct. Many people from privileged castes (including some people associated with political parties, 'human rights organisations' etc..) often speak about the misuse of SC ST (POA) Act.

 

The experience of human rights and dalit rights activists on the ground clerarly indicates that this act is not implemented properly by the dominant-caste ruling classes.

Here is a the link to the Karnataka Report on the status of implementation of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for 2011 and 2012 https://www.facebook.com/...

More information here: http://openspace.org.in/s...

 

Manohar Elavarthi

Joint Secretary

Praja Rajakiya Vedike

http://www.facebook.com/manoharban

https://twitter.com/manoharban

http://plus.google.com/104941164502322099391

murali772's picture

sanity check needed

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Before the day was over, more drama unfolded outside the DG&IG's office on Nrupathunga Road. An infuriated Ravindranath stormed out of the building, yelling that he is being ill-treated because he is a dalit. Around 5pm, Ravindranath approached ADGP (intelligence) AM Prasad seeking an appointment with chief minister Siddaramaiah. “But Prasad said it wasn’t possible as the CM was busy. Angered by his refusal, Ravindranath stormed out of the chamber and accused Prasad of calling him a dalit,” DG office sources said.

Spotting waiting for reporters, Ravindranath alleged he had been ill-treated by his colleagues. “Prasad shouted at me, called me a dalit, and asked why I needed to meet the CM,” he said. However, DG office sources brushed away the allegations. “It’s sad to see an IPS officer behaving in this manner,’’ they added.


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

What surpises one is how such a person has been been given a posting (in Dharawar), in the first place. Very plainly he needs to undergo a sanity check, and rehabilitated appropriately, but certainly not in the police force. The earlier the govt goes about it the better.

Muralidhar Rao
MaheshK's picture

Did he take the photos?

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Did the ADGP really take the photos of the girls or not? Why he is not answering that question? CID has found two photos in his mobile. Did he take them or someone emailed him knowingly? Let him come our and clear the air.

Thanks Murali sir for bringing this to Praja. Looks like many here are only interested in commuter rail or scared to talk about this issue.

 

murali772's picture

justice mis-carried

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The legal battle between Additional Director General of Police P Ravindranath and a woman whose photograph he clicked at a coffee shop has come to an end, with both sides deciding to settle the case amicably. This comes about six months after the compromise process was initiated. - - - ADGP Ravindranath (research and restructuring, Dharwad) told Express that justice had been meted out to him with the High Court quashing the chargesheet. - - - - The woman was unavailable for comment.
 
For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here
 
The lady's unavailability for comment in the face of the AGDP's claim "justice had been meted out to him" tells us enough about how justice has got miscarried in this instance. As compared to the cases involving the equally powerful Justice A K Ganguly, and Tarun Tejpal, perhaps the ADGP has got away here because the lady was not working for him, and as such, the Visakha guidelines don't apply. 
 
All the same, the court battle against a senior police official will necessarily be one-sided, unless of course you can get say a Subramaniam Swamy on your side. The saying "in a democracy, all are equal before law", has perhaps to have a rider attached to it - "provided you have the means to pursue it".
 
The report further states - "The Other Case: A case was also filed by Ravindranath against the then city police commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar, DCP Ravikant Gowda and sub-inspector M S Ravi, accusing them of practising untouchability. “I am yet to decide on whether or not to take the case further,” he said". 
 
I bet he is not going to be pursuing it. 
 
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Perhaps time to challenge the misused provisions of the Act

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Two senior officials arraigned in a caste atrocity case sought anticipatory bail on Tuesday.

Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary, Backward Classes Welfare Department, and H R Hiremath, a KAS officer, are defendants in a case filed by a superintending engineer recommended for suspension. They face charges under the SC and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

During the hearing at a sessions court on Tuesday, Public Prosecutor Ashok M Talawar opposed grant of bail. The judge posted the case to January 12 for orders.

Shalini Rajneesh is Vice-President and Hiremath Executive Director of the Karnataka Residential Educational Institutions Society, an organisation run by the Karnataka government. The complainant is Venkatadri, Superintendent Engineer of the society.

The public prosecutor submitted the two officials had to be arrested so that investigators could record their statements. The case is registered under Section 18 of the Act, offences under which are non-bailable, he said.


Vidhana Soudha police told Express the officials were neither under arrest nor were they absconding. “We will arrest them if the court asks us to do so,” he said.

Venkatadri’s parent department is Public Works, and he was on deputation at the Department of Social Welfare since July 2014, his counsel Shankarappa said.

Though Venkatadri approved 40 housing quarters and 142 other works promptly, Hiremath recommended his suspension to Shalini Rajneesh.

She wrote to the government on September 23, 2015, to keep Venkatadri under suspension, Shankarappa told the court.

He also alleged Shalini Rajneesh had delayed repair work estimates and harassed Venkatadri, besides discriminating against him as he is a Dalit.


For the full text of the report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Very obviously another glaring case of misuse of the draconian provisions under the Act. And, it seems to have evolved into a kind of a pattern, plainly to subvert accountbility. If allowed to continue, it can have a deleterious effect on the morale of the bureaucracy, worsening governance even further. Perhaps, time the civil society joined together to challenge the provisions of the Act.

Muralidhar Rao
tvidya's picture

Misuse of provisions of the act

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We notice only few honest , effcient Officials remain in administration in the  State if not in the Country. My obseravtion is that Shalini  Rajneesh is one among them . Political leadership, Judiciary and  bureaucracy should protect this breed so that they do not get demoralised and become inefficient and dishonest to save themselves to avoid unnecessary harassment while discharging thier duties. This is what  many Officials say .Why get into trouble. Play safe. But coutry needs honest and efficent lot. 

T.Vidyadhar   

murali772's picture

worrisome development

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A bureaucrat, that I have been touch with from long, responded personally to my post of 7th Jan as below:

I spoke to Shalini, who stated that she was hopeful that the court will see the documents which speak of his misdeeds and justice will be delivered.

This bureaucrat friend further added "However in future we may not like to initiate action against our subordinates at our own cost which means our personal interest should precede public interest!!"

Now, as if all of that's not bad enough, the Act has now been made even more stringent going by this report in the New Indian Express. And, the report doesn't talk much about safeguards against misuse, either.

All in all, a worrisome development.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

long overdue correction

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The Supreme Court has done well to dilute some of the more draconian provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, specifically those relating to the arrest of the accused and granting of bail. Saying that the law to protect SC/ST individuals from casteist slurs and discrimination was being abused to “blackmail” innocent citizens and public servants, a two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit, felt the law was being used to exact “vengeance” and to realise vested interests. Instead of helping blur caste-lines—the intent behind the legislation—it is reinforcing these and may even “perpetuate casteism”, the Supreme Court judgement says.
 
For the full text, click here.
 
Long overdue correction, as can be seen from each of the cases posted by me all along. Kudos to SC. 
 
Muralidhar Rao

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