HC: Intentional insult under SC/ST Act not an offence unless committed in public view - Hindustan Times
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HC: Intentional insult under SC/ST Act not an offence unless committed in public view

ByJItendra Sarin
May 22, 2024 09:59 PM IST

During the court proceedings, it was argued that the offence was committed in the informant’s house, which is not a public place and was not in public view. Hence, no offence would be made out under Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act.

sarin.jitendra@gmail.com

Allahabad High Court (Sourced)
Allahabad High Court (Sourced)

PRAYAGRAJ: The Allahabad high court has reiterated that an alleged act of intentional insult or intimidation causing humiliation would constitute an offence under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act) only if it is committed in public view.

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While partly allowing an application filed by Pintu Singh and two others, Justice Vikram D Chauhan quashed the criminal proceedings against the three persons (applicants) in respect of the offence under Sections 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act.

An FIR against the applicants was lodged in November 2017 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act at Nagara police station in Ballia district. The allegations stated that the accused persons, numbering seven including the applicants, entered the house of the informant, made caste-based remarks, and assaulted the informant and his family members. Thereafter, the chargesheet was filed before the court.

During the court proceedings, it was argued that the offence was committed in the informant’s house, which is not a public place and was not in public view. Hence, no offence would be made out under Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act.

On the other hand, the state government’s counsel opposed the applicants’ plea. However, he could not dispute that the incident allegedly occurred in the informant’s house.

At the outset, the court noted that the site plan filed by the counsel for the applicants indicated that the incident took place at the informant’s house, which is not considered a public place or within public view.

The court further observed that a perusal of the informant’s statement under section 161 of the CrPC and the FIR demonstrated that no member of the public was present in the house where the alleged incident is said to have occurred.

Against this backdrop, the court, in its decision dated May 10, noted that the offence should have been committed in public view, in accordance with the mandate of Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act.

“Once the offence has not taken place in public view, the provisions of Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act would not be attracted, and as such, the same cannot be proceeded with,” the court remarked while quashing the proceedings in respect of Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act.

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