A meeting of the advocates was organized by DSS on 21-10-2020 at Press Club, Vijayawada. Advocates from Guntur and Krishna districts participated in the meet. The objective of the meet was to bring awareness among the advocates on the S.C.S.T. (PoA) Act and its implications. The meeting was presided over by Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of DSS. She explained the objectives of the meeting and the need for advocates to be vigilant about the cases filed under the S.C.S.T. (PoA) Act. She explained in detail about the loopholes in implementation of the Act and cited illustrative cases where the police and prosecuting authorities have done injustice to the victims. She spoke at length about the various atrocities, particularly, rape of minor girls and how the concerned authorities are failing to do justice. She explained about the latest amendments to the S.C.S.T. (PoA) Act and how the implementing authorities are not aware of these amendments. She exhorted the advocates present to be articulate about the latest amendments and monitor the cases properly.
Jhansi Geddam spoke about the other special laws like Disa Act, POCSO Act and lamented how dalit minor girls are being raped despite the existence of such special law. She appealed to the advocates to monitor the cases and see that the victims get justice. She explained about the objectives of providing compensation in the S.C.S.T. (PoA) Act and commented that the concerned departments have not grasped the objectives of Act. Due to lack of appreciation of the objectives of payment of compensation, the concerned departments are harassing the victims by not disbursing the amounts in time. She requested the advocates to monitor proper payment of compensation to the victims as per the guidelines.
The advocates actively interacted and spoke about the real ways in which the cases are
conducted in the courts.Sri. Sunil, Assistant Public Prosecutor, Guntur, Sri. Srikanth, Advocate,Sri. Ankaiah and women
advocates, Ms.Veda, Ms. Aruna, Ms.Dayaratnam interacted actively at the meet. They explained in detail as to why many cases are getting either closed or acquitted despite the fact that a serious atrocity was committed. Among other things, they cited the issues like the ignorance of the victims and their failure to depose properly in the court. Another major reason for loosing cases is due to inordinate delay in completing the trial. Due to inordinate delay the victims and witnesses are unable to depose properly. Moreover, the accused are able to convince the victims and witnesses to leave them. Further, the delay and disinterest of prosecution in cases is causing improper depositions by the witnesses and victims. They explained that since the victims are economically weak and dependant on the accused for work, in course of time they are compromising. The advocates said that in the recent times every case is being viewed as a political case and the clash of politics and intervention of local political leaders is causing hurdle to the proper handling of cases.
Sate Coordinators of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Ms. Bhagya Lakshmi and Ms. Hemalatha spoke about the worst scenario with regard to the implementation of the Act in their respective States. The narrated how the police and politicians are colluding with the accused and threatening the victims. They felt it is shameful for the implementing authorities to side with the accused.
All the advocates present assured to be in touch with DSS and promised to monitor the atrocity cases taken up by DSS and help the victims and witnesses.