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Two-tumbler system: court orders probe

Staff Reporter

Collector, SP to submit report

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Salem Collector and the Superintendent of Police to personally investigate allegations on the prevalence of `two-tumbler' system in the district, and submit a report to the Home Secretary.

This direction was issued by Justice K.P. Sivasubramaniam on a writ petition filed by one P. Selvaraj, who alleged that the communal discrimination was widely prevalent in at least 100 villages in the district. He also referred to a specific incident of discrimination and assault on a Scheduled Caste boy at Thirumalaigiri village in February, and sought direction to the authorities concerned to initiate action against persons involved in the incident.

`False complaint'

According to advocate P. Vijendran, the petitioner's son was abused, assaulted and then remanded to judicial custody on the basis of a false complaint by the perpetrators of untouchability themselves.

However, in their counter-affidavit, the SP and the Inspector of Steel Plant police station, denied prevalence of untouchability. The SP said that as per reports from his subordinate officials no such incident occurred at Thirumalaigiri.

Mr. Justice Sivasubramaniam, however, referred to the provisions of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and noted that whenever complaints of untouchability were given the statute required the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police to visit the place and hold personal inquiry. "The requirement is mandated in order to ensure proper enforcement of removal of untouchability."

Certain procedures and requirements were contemplated in the Act, and they have to be complied with, the judge said, adding that the offence should be investigated by a police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police. He said the Collector and the SP had not conducted any personal inquiry, and added, "nowhere in the counter-affidavit is there any reference regarding personal investigation by himself after the complaint of two-tumbler system had been received...The reports gathered through other officials are not sufficient."

The judge then said it was open to the authorities to proceed further with the complaint on the Thirumalaigiri incident in accordance with law.

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