Dalit Sthree Sakthi conducted “Advocates Meet” on 28th August 2021 at Ravindra Bharathi Conference Hall, Hyderabad.About 65 advocates from the Bar Associations of Vikarabad, Ranga Reddy, Medchal, Hyderabad and Mahboob Nagar districts attended the conference.Two retired district judges participated in the Meet.The participants seriously discussed about the violence taking place on Dalits in the Telangana State and the lopsided implementation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
1989.All the advocates expressed serious concern about the unabated atrocities occurring on Dalits and shared the methods to prevent the atrocities.A consensus emerged that lawyers should play active role in protecting the rights of Dalits and defend the victims.Towards this
objective everyone agreed that lawyers should intervene whenever an atrocity takes place and do all necessary activities like conducting fact finding of the incident, monitoring the police investigation, assisting and monitoring the prosecution, assisting the victimsand witnesses with regard to getting compensation, deposition of evidence at the trial etc. It was unanimously resolved by all that advocates should form into a team in every Bar Association and monitor the implementation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. Brief outline of the speeches is as given below:
Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of DSS presided over the meet.She explained what is meant by Rule of Law and commented that the administration in general and criminal justice administration is not adhering to Rule of Law.Autocratic tendencies are growing and
administration is being carried as per their whims and fancies flouting rule of law. If anyone points out violation of Rule of Law they are being viewed as enemies and illegal actions are being taken against them. She cited the recent incident of lock-up death of Mariyamma as an example of blatant violation of Rule of Law. She was tortured and killed brutally in violation of all norms, criminal law, criminal procedure, Supreme Court directives and directives of NHRC etc. Still no action is taken on the concerned SI excepting dismissal from service. He was not charged for murder nor was he arrested so far. If any ordinary person beats another person causing death, police would have immediately arrested him and charged under Section 302 of IPC. But the same is not done with regard to those who killed Mariyamma by indiscriminately beating her all night. The departmental investigation is also not done in accordance with the Rule of Law. Enquiry by the Executive Magistrate, inquest, post mortem and every other aspect is not done in accordance with the Rule of Law. She suggested that all advocates should play active role in monitoring Rule of Law in cases of atrocities on Dalits.
Sri. Ramdas, Retired District Judge and Special Magistrate of Ranga Reddy District:
Sri Ramdas spoke about the present situation of ruling and said that now the uneducated are ruling the educated.He called upon the advocates to develop their legal knowledge, drafting skills and communication skills in English.He advised the advocates to be assertive.He recalled the sacrifices and services of Sri. Bojja Tharakam and explained the way he served the Dalits to his last breath and appealed to the advocates to emulate Sri. Tharakam.He touched upon the subject of how the lands of Dalits are being grabbed by others first
by getting an injunction order and then occupying it. Due to lack of legal knowledge, legal resource and financial problems, Dalits can’t go to court and loose the land. In such situations the interventions by advocates would help the Dalits. Likewise, with regard to mass attacks and other clashes, due to lack of legal knowledge of right to self-defense, Dalits usually run away without attempting to defend themselves. He called upon the advocates to take lead and impart legal knowledge to Dalits in the villages. Speaking about the ethical standards to be maintained by the advocates, he advised the lawyers to gain the confidence of their clients that they will stand by them without any collusion with other parties. This image is important for an advocate. He said it is necessary for the lawyers to express freely even if they are not very well versed with the language.
Sri. Jaya Surya, Retired District Judge:
Sri Jaya Surya encouraged the lawyers to be courageous in facing the situations and solving the issues.He said a coward dies many times before actual death while a courageous person dies only once.He said while he was working as a judicial officer in Kareem Nagar, a large number of poor people from the caste of Budaga Jangam approached him with regard to the problem faced by them in not getting the caste certificates.The concerned officer is not issuing the caste certificates and due to lack of caste certificate they are unable to pursue
studies after Xth class. As a judge he directed the concerned officer to issue the certificates. He felt that more than the politicians, it is the bureaucracy which is creating problems to the poorer sections and stalling their progress by not discharging their duties properly. He pointed out that most of the Dalits are economically backward and the system is not functioning properly. He cited the incident of lock-up death of Mariyamma and noted that the SC,ST Commission of Telangana State has not taken up the case and render justice.
He appealed to all advocates first to reform themselves and develop the personality. He advised all lawyers to act as social engineers to help the dalit community.
Speeches of Advocates:
A large number of advocates spoke on various points and the gist of all their speeches is as follows:
SC/ST advocates will have to form into teams to serve the Dalits in accessing justice.
In Hyderabad and surrounding areas, the lands of Scheduled Castes and Tribes are being occupied by dominant castes.
Accused in atrocity cases are being arrested due to political pressures.
There is no representation for scheduled castes in appointment of public prosecutors.
Women are not being respected in their own homes.
People should be educated about Mariyamma case.
A special wing has to be created in every Bar Association to defend the rights of Dalits.
There should be district units to solve the problems of scheduled castes and tribes.
We should cultivate the habit of respecting each other.
We should monitor atrocity cases and see that charge sheet is filed without delay.
We have to help ourselves by gaining knowledge.
There are many rights provided to the victims after 2015 amendments to the SC,ST (PoA) Act which are not implemented properly. Advocates should monitor the cases to see that they are properly implemented.
There is lot of delay in filing the charge sheet and we should monitor to see that charge sheet is filed in time.
Dalits are not fully conscious of their oppression and a few Dalits are acting as enemies to the community by joining hands with the dominant castes.
Women should be educated to stand up and struggle for the women.
Atrocities are growing due to ego and political power.
DSS should be appreciated for bringing advocates together and motivating them to work for Dalits.
No one is using Sec4 of the SC,ST (PoA) Act. It is necessary to use that section to pressurize the officials to properly implement the Act.
A network of lawyers should be formed.
Dalits should read important books and improve knowledge.
Dominant castes are able to use Dalits due to lack of unity.
Religion, caste and gender discrimination are the real enemies of Dalits
· Teams of Dalit advocates should be formed in every Bar Association to take up the cases of atrocities on Dalits, assist the victims and monitor the proper implementation of SC,ST (PoA) Act in all aspects.
All advocates enthusiastically involved in the session, and appreciated DSS’ initiation. They decided to form a WhatsApp group to plan future course of action. Later Telangana State Coordinator Bhagya Lakshmi concluded the meeting with vote of thanks.