HC seeks details of trial in atrocities case

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday sought details of the trial by a special court that was hearing a case of atrocities against Dalits in Thamarakki village, Sivaganga district.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and S. S. Sundar observed that the court wanted to ascertain if the relevant provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were complied with during trial, given that the lower court had hurriedly conducted trial in the case, and adjourned the hearing till February 20.

The court had earlier granted an interim stay of proceedings before the Additional District and Sessions Court for trial of cases under The Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act, 1955.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by advocate G. Bhagavath Singh. He alleged that on November 15, 2018, caste Hindus had attacked Dalits in Thamarakki village, after it was claimed that a Dalit man had eloped with a married caste Hindu woman and her two minor children.

Though the Dalits had nothing to do with the elopement, the members of a dominant community ransacked Dalit houses, causing tension in the region. The Dalits were also made to apologise for the elopement. Following a complaint from the affected families, an FIR was registered, he said.

Investigation into the incident was completed within a week and a chargesheet filed immediately. The accused surrendered before the lower court and were remanded in judicial custody. However, their bail applications were considered on the very same day and they were enlarged on bail, complained the petitioner.

With the accused out on bail, the witnesses were turning hostile at a stage when their examination was pending. He said that he had no confidence that the Dalits would get justice if the special court continued to hear the case and sought a direction for its transfer.

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