To apply SC/ST Act, abuse must be in public place, says K'taka HC: Report
Such offences will be registered only if the abuse is in a public place, the Karnataka High Court ruled this month.
The Karnataka high court has ruled that offences under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act will be registered only if casteist abuse happens in a public place, news agency PTI reported. The HC was hearing a pending case against a person who allegedly abused the petitioner in a building's basement, where the victim and his co-workers alone were present. The HC quashed the case citing its order.
Justice M Nagaprasanna, in his verdict on June 10, said: "Two factors will emerge from a reading (of the statements) – one being, the basement of the building was not a place of public view and two, only persons who claim to be present were the complainants and other employees of Jayakumar R Nair or friends of the complainants. Hurling of abuses is clearly not in a place of public view or a public place (required) for the Act to be attracted..."
The alleged incident happened in 2020, when Rithesh Pias was claimed to have abused Mohan on the basis of his caste.
According to PTI , Justice Nagaprasanna also pointed to other factors, such as a dispute the accused had with the building owner, Jayakumar R Nair. Pias, the accused, reportedly secured a stay on the construction of Nair's building. In this matter, the court concluded, PTI said, that the owner, Nair, was 'firing at Pias on the shoulder of his employee (Mohan)'.
PTI further quoted the court as saying the above dispute 'cannot be brushed aside as it demonstrates a clear link in the chain of events'.
The court dismissed all charges against Pias, including those of voluntarily casuing hurt.
"For an offence punishable under Section 323... there should be hurt caused in the squabble. However, in this case, Mohan's wound certificate shows a simple scratch mark on the fore-arm and another scratch mark on the chest. Bleeding is not what is indicated. Therefore, simple scratch marks cannot become offence under Section 323 of the IPC," the court said.
"In light of the afore-quoted facts, when the basic ingredients of the offence are missing, then permitting such proceedings to continue and to compel the petitioner to face the rigmarole of criminal trial will be totally unjustified, leading to abuse of the process of law," the court concluded.
With input from PTI