CAN PETROL be produced from polythene waste? Without going into the authenticity of such a claim — made by two Dalit men from Madhya Pradesh — the Supreme Court ordered the prosecution of two upper caste men for allegedly cheating them of their ‘invention’.
The SC set aside an order of the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court quashing criminal proceedings against Sanjay Singh and Jayendra Singh, pending before a magistrate’s court in Gohad, a town in Bhind district.
“The learned (high court) judge has not even taken pains to look into the complaint and other material produced before the learned magistrate by the complainant,” it said. It directed the magistrate “to complete the pending proceedings expeditiously… and at any rate, within nine months”.
The magisterial court started criminal proceedings on a complaint filed by Ram Babu - father of Devendra Pratap and Menendra Pratap, who claim to have made the invention - in April 2006. He alleged that his sons produced petroleum products from polythene and demonstrated this at various science fairs. In December 2005, he said, Sanjay and Jayendra requested the two to give them photos of the production model so that they could get it published in the newspapers. But instead, they got the invention published in their own names and with their photographs.
According to the complaint, the accused also won a reward of Rs 10,000 from the state government for this invention. When Devendra and Menendra demanded their model back, Sanjay and Jayendra made casteist remarks against them and even threatened to kill them.