AHMEDABAD: Following the Supreme Court's judgement diluting the provisions related to arrest in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Gujarat High Court has granted anticipatory bail to 15 people accused of assaulting a Dalit man.
Justice J B Pardiwala, on March 21, granted pre-arrest bail to 15 members of the Rajput community, taking into consideration the SC verdict which came a day earlier.
An FIR under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered against 15 people, including women, at Jadar police station in Sabarkantha district in January.
They allegedly thrashed a Dalit man and hurled casteist abuse at him over a petty issue at Moti Vadol village in the district, as per the FIR.
When the lower court rejected their anticipatory bail plea, the petitioners approached the high court last month.
During the hearing on March 21, petitioners' counsel Rajesh Shah cited the apex court's verdict of the day before.
He stressed para 81 of the SC verdict, in which the apex court directs that in the case of an accused other than a public servant, "no arrest may be effected.. without the permission of Senior Superintendent of Police".
After taking into consideration the Supreme Court's verdict, Justice Pardiwala granted anticipatory bail, with a condition that the accused will co-operate with the probe.
The Supreme Court on March 20 diluted the stringent provisions mandating immediate arrest, in a bid to protect honest public servants discharging bonafide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the SC/ST Act.
The top court said that on several occasions, innocent citizens were being termed as accused and public servants deterred from performing their duties, which was never the intention of the legislature.