HYDERABAD: The courts will not punish those who are accused under Section 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in the absence of any evidence of allegations which attract ingredients of the above section. Thus, in the absence of evidence, the allegations attracting the ingredients of the above section (intentionally insulting or intimidating with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view) are treated to be ineffective.
In a petition to the Hyderabad High Court filed under Section 482 of CrPC, two accused persons urged the court to quash the proceedings pending before the court of first class judicial magistrate at Sircilla in Karimnagar district in a case registered against them for offences punishable under IPC Sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and under Section 3(1)(x) of SC, ST (POA) Act, 1989.
Section 482 of CrPC reads: ‘Saving of inherent power of High Court - Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.’
Police registered the case against the accused petitioners (both are brothers) based on an application filed by the complainant alleging that the accused had attacked and abused him by taking his caste name and also threatened to kill him by spending money. Pursuant to an earlier interim direction by the High Court, the police had not arrested the petitioners till completion of investigation. Later, charge sheet was filed.
Justice T Amarnath Goud found that there was no mention that the complainant and the accused knew the complainant by his caste. On the date of the incident, the complainant was at a market and found some persons quarrelling with the two accused persons and, when he intervened to stop the quarrel, both attacked him and abused him by taking his caste name and also threatened to kill him by spending money.
The crucial witnesses to the incident were the vegetable vendors and they were not examined as witnesses but others who were not present at the scene of offence were shown in the list of witnesses. In view of the absence of any evidence, the allegations attracting the ingredients of Section 3(1)(x) of the Act were treated to be vitiated, the judge observed. With regard to allegations against the accused petitioners under Sections 323 and 506 of IPC, the complainant had been treated by the doctor, he said and opined that the injuries were simple in nature.
The judge allowed the petition in part by quashing the proceedings for the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the Act. While disposing of the case, he made it clear that the proceedings for offences punishable under Sections 323 and 506 IPC should go on before the competent court.