Kerala HC nixes Sathyabhama’s anticipatory bail petition

The court also directed Sathyabhama to surrender before the jurisdictional court within one week

KOCHI: The High Court on Monday observed that unless provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act are enforced in their true letter and spirit, with utmost earnestness and dispatch, the dream and ideal of a casteless society will remain a dream, a mirage. The marginalisation of SC and ST communities is based almost solely on caste identities, it said.

Justice K Babu made the remarks while dismissing the anticipatory bail plea of Kalamandalam Sathyabhama, who was slapped with a case for making casteist remarks against mohiniyattam dancer R L V Ramakrishnan during an interview on a YouTube channel.

The court also directed Sathyabhama to surrender before the jurisdictional court within one week. “On her surrender, if she files an application seeking regular bail, the court should dispose of the application on the same day itself,” it said.

The HC pointed out that the Act was enacted to address the gulf between the rights that the Constitution guaranteed to all people, particularly those who continued to remain victims of ostracism and discrimination. The Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Bill, when it was moved in Parliament, observed that despite various measures to improve their socio-economic conditions, SC and ST communities remain vulnerable, the judge said.

“They are denied some civil rights and are subjected to various offences, indignities, humiliation and harassment. They have been, in several brutal instances, deprived of their life and property. Serious atrocities were committed against them for various historical, social and economic reasons, pointed out the court,” he said.

The HC observed that the prosecution could prima facie establish that Sathyabhama insulted Ramakrishnan with the intent to humiliate him in public view on account of his belonging to an SC community. “Therefore, the bar under Section 18 of the SC/ST Act on granting anticipatory bail applies to the present facts, and hence the application seeking anticipatory bail is not maintainable,” the court said.

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The New Indian Express