BENGALURU: While the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is essentially meant to protect the members of the SC or ST communities, at the same, it should not be misused. Therefore, there is a greater responsibility on the investigating officer to make a decision before filing the chargesheet, said Karnataka High Court.
Justice Sreenivas Harish Kumar said that it is not as though in every crime, if the victim happens to be a member of SC or ST communities, it is an offence under Section 3 of the Act. If the motive for crime is not casteist, the accused can only be chargesheeted under the offences under Indian Penal Code that can be appropriately invoked in the background of the incident of crime or under other law which can be applied as the facts and circumstances indicate, he said.
Quashing the proceedings initiated under the Act against Lokanath, resident of Rajajinagar in city, as no offence of atrocity appears to have taken place, the court noted that Section 2(a) of the Act defines the word ‘atrocity’ as an offence punishable under Section 3 of the Act. The Act was enacted for eradication of untouchability, and to protect the members of scheduled caste or scheduled tribes from casteist attack and discrimination, the court added.