Criticism against ignorance of caste-based violence

  • In cases of sexual violence against Dalit and Adivasi women, courts have almost consistently set aside convictions under the PoA Act.
  • In 2006 in Ramdas and Others v. State of Maharashtra, where a Dalit minor girl was raped, the Supreme Court set aside the conviction under the PoA Act stating that the mere fact that the victim happened to be a woman who was member of an SC community would not attract the PoA Act.
  • In Dinesh Alias Buddha v. State of Rajasthan (2006), the Supreme Court held: “It is not case of the prosecution that the rape was committed on the victim since she was a member of Scheduled Caste.”
  • In 2019, in Khuman Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, a case of murder, again the court held that the fact that the deceased was a member of an SC community was not disputed but there was no evidence to show that the offence was committed only on that ground; conviction under the PoA Act was set aside.
  • There are several precedents insisting on an unrealistic burden of proof. This issue needs to be referred to a larger bench to take a different view.
  • The only evidence that can be led is that the victim was from an SC/ST community and that the accused was aware of that.
  • When a woman is from a marginalised caste and is disabled, she faces discrimination due to her sex, caste/tribe and disability, all of which render her vulnerable to sexual violence.
  • This is what intersectionality theory requires us to recognise.