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'We Have To Hang Our Heads In Shame For Having Ill Treated Scheduled Castes For Centuries': Madras HC Takes Suo-Moto Cognizance Of Lack Of Path To Graveyard For SCs

Sparsh Upadhyay
24 Dec 2020 5:38 AM GMT
We Have To Hang Our Heads In Shame For Having Ill Treated Scheduled Castes For Centuries: Madras HC Takes Suo-Moto Cognizance Of Lack Of Path To Graveyard For SCs
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The Madras High Court on Monday (21st December) registered a Suo Motu Public Interest Litigation based on a newspaper report highlighting the plight of Scheduled Caste people as a dead body was taken to the graveyard through cultivable land at Marudur village near Melur in Madurai district due to lack of rao The Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B....

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The Madras High Court on Monday (21st December) registered a Suo Motu Public Interest Litigation based on a newspaper report highlighting the plight of Scheduled Caste people as a dead body was taken to the graveyard through cultivable land at Marudur village near Melur in Madurai district due to lack of rao

The Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi remarked,

"We have to hang our head in shame for having ill-treated and discriminated the Scheduled Caste people for centuries together."

Highlighting the fact that the Central Government passed 'The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989', "to give dignity to prevent the crimes against members of Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes", the Court further noted,

"The said Act is also being misused by some people, especially, those who are employed in Government. However, there are aberrations only. Even today, they are not getting properly treated and offences are continuing and they are not getting appropriate basic amenities."

The matter before the Court

The Dinakaran Newspaper published a report that due to lack of road to graveyard, the SC people in Maruthur Colony, Melur Taluk have to pass through agriculture fields with standing crops.

It further highlighted that since there is no road facility available to these people, they are compelled to carry the dead body through the fields with standing crops which puts them to unnecessary trouble and untold hardships.

Taking Suo Moto Cognizance of this News report, the Court said,

"Not only living persons, but also dead bodies should be given dignity. The Schedule Caste people should have roads to graveyards. This news report only reflects that there are no proper pathways/roads to the graveyards."

Further, the Court impleaded following Department as respondents:

  • Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department, Government of Tamil Nadu;
  • Revenue Department, Government of Tamil Nadu; and
  • Municipal Administration & Water Supply Department, Government of Tamil Nadu

The respondents have been directed to file a report with regard to the following queries:

  1. How many Scheduled Caste Habitations are located in the State of Tamil Nadu?
  2. Whether all the Scheduled Caste Habitations have got drinking water facilities, street lights and toilet facilities as well as roads to the graveyards?
  3. How many Habitations do not have roads to graveyards?
  4. What are all the steps taken, including the acquiring of lands for laying of roads for graveyards?
  5. By what time, all the Schedule Castes Habitations would be provided with water facilities, street lights toilet facilities as well as pathways to the graveyards?

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