The travails of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes continue unabated, the Bench observed. The Supreme Court has observed that provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act are not being strictly enforced due to ‘the indifferent attitude of the authorities’ Directing the Central and State Governments to strictly enforce the provisions of the Act, the three Judge Bench observed that the constitutional goal of equality for all the citizens of this country can be achieved only when the rights of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are protected.

‘National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights’, a voluntary organisation had approached the Apex Court complaining that the implementation of the Act has been totally ineffective and that Dalits are still suffering from atrocities in view of the noncompliance of various provisions of the Act. They also highlighted the persisting problem of non-registration of cases under appropriate provisions of the Act, delays in filing of charge-sheet, accused not being arrested, release of high risk offenders on bail and filing of false and counter cases against Dalit victims. The Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India observed:

“The laudable object with which the Act had been made is defeated by the indifferent attitude of the authorities.” Apart from directions to Governments, the Court asked the National Legal Services Authority to formulate appropriate schemes to spread awareness and provide free legal aid to members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Read the Judgment here.

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