Patna, Aug 23: Bihar has decided to set up special courts for hearing and disposal of cases relating to atrocities committed on members of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
Bihar SC/ST Welfare Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said the special courts would be set up exclusively to deal with cases of atrocity against members of the SC/ST groups, in a bid to prevent such crime and offer justice in such cases expeditiously.
"Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has directed the officials of the law department to request the Patna high court to speed up the process," an official in the chief minister's office here said.
Such special courts are being planned for Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Bhagalpur districts.
"The setting up of the special courts will expedite disposal of cases under the SC/ST Atrocities Act," S.M. Raju, secretary of the SC/ST welfare department, said.
Officials said the chief minister has asked Chief Secretary A.K. Sinha to video conference with the district magistrates on the progress of cases relating to atrocities on SCs and STs.
Manjhi said there was an increase in the number of cases registered under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, after the government set up one special police station in every district headquarters.
According to data presented by the minister, 4,821 cases were registered in the state in 2012 under the SC/ST Act -- 3,423 cases are pending disposal.