14 Chapter 5

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Details of Autrocity
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   198 Chapter 5 Investigation and Trail of Atrocity cases and powers of Special Courts under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989   199 The researcher has in this chapter made an attempt to explain about investigation of Atrocities under the ‘Act’, Governments power to setting up of Special Courts for the trail of atrocities cases, appointment of Special Public Prosecutors, meaning and  procedure of ‘Externment’ under the Act, State Governments power to impose collective fine, preventive action to be taken by the Law and Order machinery to prevent the Commission of Atrocities, whether Section 360 of Criminal Procedure Code and the  provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act applies to persons guilty of an offence under the ‘Act’ were discussed.   I. INVESTIGATION OF ATROCITIES UNDER THE ‘ACT’  Investigating Officer  :  According to Rule-7 of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995, an offence committed under the Act shall be investigated by a police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police. The investigating officer shall be appointed by the State Government in consultation with D.G.P., Superintendent of Police, after taking into account his past experience, sense of ability and justice to perceive the implications of the case and investigate it along with right lines within the shortest possible time. I.1. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (PoA) Act, 1989, Section 3(1)(x) r/w Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules 1995, and under Rule-7, Investigation into an offence shall be done by Deputy Superintendent of Police. But, if investigation report referring case as mistake of fact submitted by Inspector of Police is valid or not ?   ‘NO’ . It is not valid. This point of law was discussed by Madras High Court in  A. Sasi Kumar Vs The   Superintendent of Police , Villupuram   and three others 1   held t hat “Investigation into offence under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has to be carried by Deputy Superintendent of Police. The Court further held that it is evident from Rule 7 of the said Rules that the Inspector of Police has no powers and has no jurisdiction to investigate the matter like this, which is one arising under the  ________________________________________________________________________ 1. 1998 (3) Crimes 279.   200 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (Act 33 of 1989), and as such any investigation done by the Inspector of Police is immaterial, and so a direction has to be issued to the Superintendent of Police Cuddalore to depute a Deputy Superintendent of Police as required under Rule 7 of the said Rules, to make further investigation into the matter under Section 173 (8) of Cr. P.C. and to file a final report  before the Special Court viz, the Principal District and Sessions Court at Cuddalore. Hence I hold that a direction has to be issued to the Superintendent of Police, Cuddalore to depute a Deputy Superintendent of Police to make further investigation into the case in Crime No.768 of 1997 on the file of the Inspector of Police, Virudhachalam Police Station and to file a final report before the Principal District and Sessions Court at Cuddalore, which is a special court to try the offence under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (Act 33 of 1989), and the Deputy Superintendent of Police so deputed by the Superintendent of Police, Cuddalore will send a copy of the F.I.R. to the Special Court viz., the Principal District and Sessions Court at Cuddalore and thereafter proceed with the further investigation and make a final report  before the Principal District and Sessions Court at Cuddalore which is the special court to try the offence under the said Act, and the petition has to be allowed accordingly. On the same point the Andhra Pradesh High Court in  D. Ramalinga Reddy   @ D. Babu Vs State of Andhra Pradesh  2   held that under section 3 (1)(xi) of the Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes (PoA) Act, 1989:   “The learned Senior Counsel appearing for the appellant submits that, since the prosecution was initiated under the  provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the investigation should have been conducted by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. He submits that any investigation which has to be conducted into the allegations made under the said Act has to be made in accordance with the Rules known as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995. These rules have been framed by the Central Government in exercise of rule making  power conferred under section 23 of the Act. The Central Government has been  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. 1999 (2) Crimes 343.   201 authorized under Section 23(1) of the Act to make rules for carrying out the purpose of the Act. Since the purpose and objective sought to be attained by the Act is to minimize the offences against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes therefore it prescribes stringent sentences also. Therefore, in order to ensure any misuse of the Act, Rule 7 of the Rules lays down not only that the investigation should be done by an officer not  below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police but also lays down that such officer should be specifically appointed by the State Government for investigating the offences under the Act. It further lays down that while, appointing such officers the Government should take into consideration his past experience, sense of ability and justice to perceive the implications of the case. On bare perusal of Rule 7 of the Rules it becomes abundantly clear that even all Deputy Superintendents of Police cannot investigate Offences under S.Cs and S.Ts (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Only those officers who are not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and are specifically appointed  by the State Government, or the Director General of Police or Superintendent of Police are competent for the purpose of investigating the cases under the Act. This order of appointment can either be specific or general. There is no dispute that the present case was investigated by a Sub-Inspector of Police and not by an Officer envisaged under Rule 7. Since the investigation itself has  been conducted by an officer who was not authorized in law to conduct the investigation the whole trail is vitiated. The same view has been expressed in a judgment of Madras High Court reported in  Ramu V. Supdt. of Police , Villupuram . 3 Therefore, conviction of the appellant for the offence under section 3(1)(xi) of S.Cs & S.Ts (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has to be set aside and is accordingly set aside and the accused-appellant is acquitted of the charges under the Act”.  On the same issue the Orissa High Court in  Pradeep Pradhan and another,    petitioners Vs State of Orissa, opposite Party 4   held that investigation made in contravention of Rule 7 of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rule, 1995 is illegal.   ______________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. 1998 M.L.J. Reports (Crl. 132). 4. 2005 CRI. L.J. 1859.
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