New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday expressed deep concern over the "dismal" rate of conviction in cases related to atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and favoured joint action with states to ensure justice to the victims.
Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik said the conviction rate on cases of atrocities on SCs and STs in India was between 3 to 8 per cent while pendency of such cases in court was -- 80 to 90 per cent.
"The conviction rate is dismal and pendency is very high. If this is the scenario, we all -- both Central and state governments -- have to ponder upon it and take strong corrective steps to provide justice to the SC and ST victims of atrocities," he said.
He was addressing a conference of Home Ministers and Ministers of Social Justice of all states and Union Territories which was attended by Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil besides others.
Wasnik said the conviction rate in cases of atrocities against SCs and STs is 3.3 per cent in Karnataka, 6.4 per cent in Gujarat and 6.6 per cent in Maharashtra while pendency rate is 90 per cent in Gujarat, 88 per cent in West Bengal, 87 per cent in Maharashtra and 82 per cent in Bihar.
"We have to take joint action to prevent such crimes. We have to see how to seize arms from those who indulge in such violence and how to give arms to Dalits for self defence and extern people who involved in the crime," he said.
In his inaugural address, Home Minister P Chidambaram said SC/ST population in the country was 25 per cent yet "we are in a state of denial".