A recent incident in Uttarakhand has brought the focus back on the SC/ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act, with several social media users claiming that a 6-year-old child was imprisoned under the act. Newschecker has however found the claim to be misleading.
Twitter user @RituRathaur shared a picture of a child sitting on a woman’s lap and posted on Twitter, “In modified New India: 6 yr old hindu boy is arrested and jailed under draconian SC/ST act..”
Several Twitter and Facebook users alleged, “A 6 year old child has also been jailed along with his mother under SC/ST Act. Case is of Uttarakhand.”
What is the SC/ST Act and why is it controversial?
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 aimed to stop the atrocities against these communities and eliminate the widespread discrimination.
However, even as the violence against the SC/ST community continues to be reported- data by NCRB revealed that the crimes against SC and ST communities increased by 1.2% and 6.4% in 2021- the act has been under the scanner time and again over its potential misuse, including false implication of non-guilty parties. More recently, the Kerala High Court had observed, “It is shocking, rather a mind blowing fact that many innocent persons are victims of false implication under the SC/ST (POA) Act.” It had further cautioned the possibility of false implications of innocent people as accused, with a view to achieve ulterior motives of the complainant, must be ruled out.
The report stated that the matter relates to a land dispute case filed under sections 323, 354, 392, 506, SC/ST Act at Munikireti police station. The accused in the case however termed it a “police conspiracy” and appleaded acquittal under section 227, but did not apply for bail. Following which, the accused party was sent to jail on January 6, 2023.
The report further stated that the accused woman claimed that her son, who is a minor, would not be able to stay with anyone except her, and hence she took the child to jail.
Notably, in the absence of parental care, children below six years of age can live with mothers in jail.
Further, we found the court’s order in the case, dated January 6, 2023, on E-Courts website. In the order, the accused have been identified as Amit Bauthiyal, Atul Bauthiyal, Sita Devi and Lakshmi Devi. We did not spot any mention of a minor being charged in the case.
Newschecker also reached out to Inspector Ritesh Shah of Munikireti Police station who clarified that the minor has not been charged in the case. He told us, “the matter relates to an old land dispute between two families. The child has not been charged, but his family took him to jail as per their will.”
SSP Tehri Garhwal Navneet Singh also confirmed to us that the child has not been charged in the case.
We are further trying to reach the family and relatives of the child who was taken to jail by his mother. The article will be updated on receiving a response from them.
Viral claim that a child has been jailed under SC/ST Act in Uttarakhand is not true. The mother of the child took him with her on her own will.
Report By Amar Ujala, Dated January 7, 2023
Telephonic Conversation With Inspector Ritesh Shah, Munikireti Police Station On January 18, 2023
Telephonic Conversation With Tehri Garhwal SSP Navneet Singh On January 18, 2023
(With inputs from Raushan Thakur)
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