No person can be prosecuted under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for making casteist abuses unless the alleged act has been done in "public view", a Delhi court has said.
Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Rajnish Bhatnagar discharged three members of a family booked for allegedly
making caste-based derogatory remarks, holding that for such remarks to constitute an offence, the law required that the
insult must be done in public view.
"From the bare reading of this section (Section 3(1)(x), it is apparent that the alleged abuses must have been given by the accused to the complainant in full 'public view'. In order to bring home the point that this ingredient is not fulfilled even if the allegations are found to be correct though the abuses have not been given in full public view," the ASJ said.
The complainant had alleged that the accused — a father-son duo — had accosted him in an inebriated state near their house at Sindhu village under Alipur Police Station of Delhi on November 25, 2011, and had beaten him up.
A woman from the family of the duo had joined them in making derogatory caste-based remarks against the complainant, he alleged.
The court directed a magisterial court to try the accused man, his wife and their son under the Indian Penal Code for allegedly causing hurt to the complainant and wrongfully restraining him.
Discharging the accused of charges under the SC/ST Act, the court said, "So in these facts and circumstances, it cannot
be said that all the ingredients of Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST Act are fulfilled in the