Karnataka to get 33 special police stations for SC/ST atrocities cases

Announcing the decision, Minister HK Patil said 7,633 cases were registered under SC/ST Act since 2022, but only 1,723 cases were disposed of.
HK Patil
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The Karnataka government on Thursday, June 20 approved a proposal to designate 33 units of the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement as special police stations. It also sanctioned 450 posts to staff these stations, which are dedicated to handling cases registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Approximately 2,000 cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) are registered annually in Karnataka.

Announcing the decision, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister HK Patil said that since 2022, 7,633 cases had been registered under this Act, but only 1,723 cases were disposed of. "As many as 1,363 cases saw acquittals, while only 68 cases resulted in conviction, translating to a mere 4% conviction rate, one of the lowest in the country," HK Patil said.

The government expects that establishing these specialised stations will lead to more efficient and thorough investigations and would improve the currently low conviction rate of 4%. This initiative aligns Karnataka with other states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala, which have already set up special police stations to handle SC/ST atrocity cases.

In his 2023-24 budget, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had committed to strengthening the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement. The cabinet's decision will establish a police station in each district, with Bengaluru receiving two stations. Each station will be overseen by an officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) or Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). This new initiative is expected to cost the exchequer approximately Rs 73 crore annually.

Minister Patil said that the local police, which is already burdened with multiple responsibilities such as law and order, crime management, VIP movements, traffic control, and election duties, often fail to complete investigations within the stipulated 60 days. This delay has led to witnesses turning hostile and a consequent high rate of acquittals. The dedicated stations are anticipated to address these issues by ensuring timely investigations, he added.

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