Karnataka State Summary Report on the Implementation of the SCs&STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 in Karnataka in the calendar years 2011 and 2012
With recommendations to the Chief Minister (Chairperson, SVMC under Rule 16(1)i)
In Karnataka, there is one crime reported against the Scheduled Castes (SCs) or Scheduled Tribes (STs) every 5 hours. Almost every week sees an SC or ST person murdered (45 in 2012) and an SC or ST woman raped (47 in 2012). Bangalore City (126) and Tumkur (121) had the highest reported cases of atrocities in 2012. Tumkur was the highest (112) in 2011.
There is a sharp variation in performance of the police and prosecution. While the police have a charge sheeting rate of over 97%, the prosecution has a conviction rate of just 7%. Though the police rate of charge sheeting is marginally higher in the case of crimes against SCs and STs compared to other crimes, the conviction rate of the special public prosecutors (SPP) is drastically lower for crimes against SCs and STs (7%) than for other IPC crimes (31.5%). In the national average too, the Karnataka police have 2% higher charge sheeting rate for POA crimes than the national average for IPC and 7% higher charge sheeting compared to the rate for POA crimes, while the Karnataka prosecutors have an 85% less conviction rate than the national average for IPC crimes and 72% less than the national POA conviction rate.
There were 1632 crimes reported under the Act in 2010, 1757 in 2011 and 1762 in 2012. Data shows that the atrocities are increasing both in numbers and severity. Including IPC crimes, the increase is 5% in crimes against SCs and 31% in crimes against STs in 2012 compared to 2011.
The STs are facing the brunt of the increase. Rapes doubled (from 2 in 2011 to 4 in 2012) and murders tripled (3 to 9) for the STs between 2011 and 2012. There was one (1) kidnap and two (2) arson in 2012 and none in 2011, indicating increasing violence on the community.
For the SCs, murders have increased 16% (31 to 36) and rapes 34% (32 to 43). Robberies (67%), kidnapping (55%) and hurt (12%) have reduced. Other IPC crimes (15%) and PCRA (38%) crimes have increased.
Bangalore City and Belgaum are in the top four in the number of cases reported in all the three years. Mysore district has been at fifth position in 2010 and 2012 and seventh in 2011. Tumkur was first in 2011 and second in 2012. The conviction rates in Tumkur (which has an exclusive special court) is also disturbing (0% of 106 in 2011 and 3 of 47, 6% in 2012).
Overall, the state has seen an 8% increase in crime against the SCs and STs in 2012 over 2011. But this is varied, with Tumkur rising 73% (from 70 crimes in 2010 to 121 in 2012), and Bangalore city rising 48% (from 85 to 126). Eight districts have seen over 38% increase in crime, while 12 have shown a decrease in the period.
More cases are being registered and less ‘B’ reports are being filed. This could mean that the police are being more vigilant and sensitive or that complaints are not being accepted or registered under this Act. The state has a high, but reducing, ‘B’ report rate (22% in 2011, 14% in 2012). In 2012 six districts—Uttara Kannada (48%), Hubli-Dharwad (40%), Belgaum (38%), Dakshina Kannada (37%), Udupi (37%), and Kodagu (33%)—have more than a third of the cases not reaching the courts at all, being reported as ‘false’ or ‘mistake of fact’.
Ten districts had zero convictions in 2011, and seven in 2012. Of them, four districts—Shimoga (87 cases), Raichur (78), Bangalore City (71) and Dharwad (50) have zero convictions in both 2011 and 2012. Tumkur disposed off 153 cases with just three convictions in both years combined (and nil convictions of 106 cases in 2011).
There is not much change in the rate of conviction, which remains at an abysmal 7% overall (2012) and 7 of 30 districts have 0% conviction rates. In 2011 it is even worse with 6% conviction rate and 10 of 30 districts having 0% convictions. The top six of eight districts that disposed off more than 100 cases had conviction rates at or below 7%. Gulbarga had the highest conviction rate (29% and 26%) in both the years.
The comparison with all India figures reveals a disturbing trend that the performance of the police (at least up to charge sheeting) is just a shade better than the national average, but the performance of the SPPs in the convictions is up to 86% less than the national average.
The low conviction rates remain a mystery since the Superintendent of Police (SP) himself makes a spot visit (Rule 12(1)) and ensures the FIR is filed (Rule 12(2)). The investigation is then done by a senior police officer, not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, who weeds out the ‘false’ or ‘mistake of fact’ cases.
There is a sharp improvement in the number of state-level vigilance and monitoring committee (DVMC) meetings. Not even one DVMC had met quarterly in 2009 or 2010. In 2011 two districts (Tumkur and Belgaum), and in 2012 six districts (Bagalkote, Bangalore Rural, Chitradurga, Davanagere, Haveri and Uttara Kannada) met the legal requirement (Rule 17(3)).
There were no DVMC meetings in Chamaraja Nagar, Raichur, or Ramnagar in 2011. DVMC Kolar has not met even once in the last three years. This is gross dereliction of duty since Kolar is identified as an atrocity prone district by the state government.
The state-level vigilance and monitoring committee (SVMC) has not met in the designated months (January and July, Rule 16 (2)) even once in the last five years. It has met only once off schedule in 27 September 2010 and despite promises, has not met subsequently either.
The SVMC has met only once instead of the required 12 times in the last six years (January 2007 to December 2012). One out of 12 in six years, and zero of four in the last two years is a gross failure under any benchmark.
- The Karnataka State annual reports under the Act (Rule 18) show very poor numbers of police officers (18 from 3 districts in 2011) are being sensitised to the Act and Rules, and there is minimal involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in creating awareness. Full use may be made of the legal provisions in preventing atrocities.
- There is little disclosure of information on the status of implementation of the Act, even though it is mandatory under RTI 2005. This is despite the requests made by civil society for disaggregated data and providing formats for statutory disclosure. The light of transparency is often enough to clear the cobwebs of lethargy. Comprehensive, disaggregated data can be disclosed suo moto.
- Some investigations still are unduly long. They must be done within 30 days as mandated [7(2)].
- Threat assessment needs to be done proactively by the police and protection provided to victim, witnesses and their dependents.
The worst performance is seen in the administration of justice.
- With the conviction rate being 7%, the DPP has to have a better system of review in place. SPPs of 7 districts have not won a single case in 2012. In 2011 SPPs in 10 districts did not win a single case.
The details of the performance of each Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) should be disclosed by the DPP in its annual disclosure under Rule 4 of the Right to Information Act 2005.
This should include at minimum (i) Number of cases appeared (ii) number of cases ending in conviction (iii) Number of accused in charge sheet (iv) Number convicted.
- Long pendency in the courts has been identified as a reason for victims and witnesses turning hostile, and consequently low conviction rates. For better administration of justice, exclusive special courts should be established in all the 30 districts. At present there are only 7 special courts, and all the others are designated courts.
- Officials (police, SPPs, civil servants and judges) with the right aptitude and understanding should be posted in all positions of administration of justice.
- Take departmental action against the DC Kolar for gross dereliction of duty even after being mentioned in the SVMC meeting for not conducting a meeting for three years.
- In addition, prosecute DC Kolar and all concerned district officers under Section 4 of the Act and Para 17 of the judgement of the Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal 959 of 2011 and note adverse comments in the annual confidential report (ACR).
- Schedule the DVMC meeting on fixed calendar dates.
- Appoint NGOs in each district to run awareness centres, conduct workshops and assist the victim-survivors, witnesses, dependents, the community and the government machinery, and provide them necessary financial and other sort of assistance [3(ix)].
- The Chief Minister (as chairman, SVMC) should ensure that the SVMC meetings are convened and conducted on time (January and July each year).
- The new contingency plan should be issued immediately, taking into account the enhanced compensation norms.
- Conduct mass training and awareness programmes for the police, judicial officers (judges, lawyers and DPP) and DVMC members.
- Immediately issue a notification to clarify that legal fees in all cases will be borne by the state. That is to rectify the wrong translation by the state government publication of Rule 4(5).
The report is also available in Kannada with the full monitoring tools (single case, district and state) using the right to information. You can see the initial pages here followed by the full report (including the tools) here