“Alternatively, the place it seems to the Courtroom that the offence in query, though coated below the SC/ST Act, is primarily personal or civil in nature, or the place the alleged offence has not been dedicated on account of the caste of the sufferer, or the place the continuation of the authorized proceedings can be an abuse of the method of regulation, the Courtroom can train its powers to quash the proceedings,” a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana stated.
The statement got here whereas quashing prison proceedings towards a person convicted below the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The highest courtroom was listening to an enchantment filed by a person difficult an order of the Madhya Pradesh excessive courtroom which had upheld his conviction below the SC/ST Act.
A civil dispute over the possession and possessory rights of a chunk of land between the person and his neighbour took an unsightly flip when he allegedly not solely threw a brick on the lady but additionally made filthy and slur remarks on her caste, which prompted her to lodge an FIR.
The person and the opposite co-accused have been subsequently tried, which led to his conviction below the SC/ST Act and consequential sentence of six months rigorous imprisonment together with a high quality of Rs.1000. The person challenged his conviction and sentence earlier than the Excessive Courtroom however his enchantment was dismissed.
The bench additionally comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli stated the SC/ST Act has been particularly enacted to discourage acts of indignity, humiliation, and harassment towards members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, nevertheless, it is going to be extraordinarily circumspect in its strategy when coping with offences arising out of particular statutes.
The highest courtroom stated the Act is a recognition of the miserable actuality that regardless of enterprise a number of measures, the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes proceed to be subjected to varied atrocities by the hands of higher castes.
The apex courtroom stated it can’t be understated that since members of the SC/ST belong to the weaker sections of the society, they’re extra vulnerable to acts of coercion, and subsequently should be accorded the next stage of safety.
If the Courts discover even a touch of compulsion or drive, no aid could be given to the accused social gathering, it stated.
Within the case in hand, nevertheless, the bench famous that the matter had been settled between the events, and the complainant had filed an utility for compromise.
Reiterating the identical plea, counsel for the accused canvassed that the events are residents of the identical village and there’s no current enmity between them.
Noting this, the apex courtroom stated, if the courtroom is happy that the target of the Act wouldn’t be contravened or diminished even when the felony in query goes unpunished, the mere indisputable fact that the offence is roofed below a ‘particular statute’ wouldn’t chorus it or the Excessive Courtroom, from exercising their respective powers below Article 142 of the Structure.
“We might hasten so as to add that in instances comparable to the current, the Courts should be much more vigilant to make sure that the complainant sufferer has entered into the compromise on the volition of his/her free will and never on account of any duress,” the bench stated.
“Having thought-about the peculiar details and circumstances of the current case in mild of the afore-stated rules, in addition to having meditated on the applying for compromise, we’re inclined to invoke the powers below Article 142 and quash the moment prison proceedings with the only real goal of doing full justice between the events earlier than us,” the bench stated.
The apex courtroom stated the very goal behind Part 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST is to discourage caste-based insults and intimidations when they’re used to demean a sufferer on account of he/she belonging to the SC/ST group.
“Within the current case, the report manifests that there was an simple pre-existing civil dispute between the events. The case of the appellant, from the very starting, has been that the alleged abuses have been uttered solely on account of frustration and anger over the pending dispute. Thus, the genesis of the deprecated incident was a civil/property dispute.
“Contemplating this facet, we’re of the opinion that it could not be incorrect to classify the prevalence as one being overarchingly personal in nature, having solely delicate undertones of criminality, regardless that the provisions of a particular statute have been attracted within the current case. Secondly, the offence in query, for which the Appellant has been convicted, doesn’t seem to exhibit his psychological depravity,” the apex courtroom stated.
The bench stated the SC/ST Act goals to guard members of the downtrodden lessons from atrocious acts of the higher strata of society.