PUCL Bulletin, May 2002

Indian Peoples Tribunal, PVCHR:
Memorandum to the President of India
Two examples of judicial bias against the Dalits



Permit us to bring to your immediate attention two important incidents in Varanasi which illustrates how the police, the administration and judiciary are biased towards the Dalits and how all the three connive to deny Dalits and other marginalized groups their rights & justice as guaranteed by our constitution.

Police Atrocities Against Dalit Community of Village Piyari
The first case relates to the Village Piyari where the Village Panchaayat had unanimously voted to install the Statue of Dr. Ambedkar in a land belonging to the Panchaayat. This was not liked by some people of the upper caste of the village, chief among them was a Nepali Singh who is a known criminal having police record; he had been the Pradhan of the village. Backed by the Police and Administration they had the Statue removed in the most undignified manner, damaging it in the process and unceremoniously dragged it on to a tractor in the presence of the Dalit Community at night. When they protested the police and Nepali Singh beat up the whole community and filed false cases against them. When the matter came up for hearing under Case No:413/2000 State V/S Mewa Lal & Others in the court of Mr. Chote Lal - at that time 7th Additional Session Judge Varanasi ,who is a Dalit, without citing any reason the case has been transferred to another Judge belonging to a Non - Dalit Caste… .

Illegal Detention & Murder In Police Encounter Of Dalit Youth
In this incident, one Satyendra was abducted by the Police in broad daylight and after some four hours later was claimed to have been killed in an encounter. On the 7th of September 2001, Satyendra along with four of his colleagues had come to the Varanasi Court, in the early hours of the Afternoon for a hearing of a pending case. After the new date for hearing had been set, the four left the courtroom for home, walking towards the Eastern Gate of the Court Premises of Varanasi. When they reached the Gate, the Police who had been waiting for him, seized him and forced him into a Jeep and drove away. It was around 1 pm. Satyendra's friends immediately sent a telegram to senior police officials on 1.50 P.M. However at 4pm the police announced the death of a notorious Naxalite in an encounter who they claim to have identified as Satyendra. The father of the deceased had filed a case but the Judge had rejected it on the grounds that a Magisterial Enquiry (Order No:3481/19 -Magistrate Enquiry No:46/98-2001/JA/Dt:22.9.2001) by the Sub District Magistrate ) was in progress.

In an earlier incident in 1998, in the Allahabad High Court, a new Judge of the Upper Caste had his chair washed by Ganga Water because his predecessor being of the low caste had defiled the chair. This is another illustration of caste-biased mindset in the Judiciary.
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Both the above two incidents are illustrative of the caste bias in the Judiciary. It was due to this discrimination that PVCHR organised an INDIAN PEOPLES TRIBUNAL on the 17th of February 2002 under Justice K. Sukumaran, Former judge, Kerala & Karnataka High court. In his concluding remark, the learned Justice had this to say, " If the government does not pay attention to its most deprived people they will lose faith in the rule of law and be pushed to take up other means to achieve justice. This is a violation of Article 14 & 15 of the Indian Constitution. We earnestly request you to look into the matter and take appropriate action

With regards,

Copy to: (1) Honar'ble Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court-New Delhi; (2) Honar'ble Chief Justice of Allahabad; (3) Honar'ble Justice K. Sukumaran; (4) Honar'ble Justice V.S. Malimath, Chairperson, Committee on Reform, Criminal Justice; (5) Honar'ble Justice Ranganath Misra

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