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'Abuse of SC/ST Act to be dealt with sternly'

A local court warns against the abuse of a special legislation to protect the interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to settle personal scores.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2007 14:17 IST

A local court has warned against the abuse of a special legislation to protect the interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to settle personal scores, saying any attempt to do so will be dealt with "sternly".

The court's concern was reflected while dealing with a complaint registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a law to check and deter crimes against SCs and STs, the stringent provisions of which deny anticipatory bail to an accused.

"This legislation has been enacted with a sole object to prevent the commission of offences and atrocities against the members of SCs and STs and any abuse of the same tends to dilute its sanctity and implementation in genuine cases," Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kamini Lau said in a recent order.

The findings on the misuse of the special law were recorded by the court while quashing a complaint by a mortuary attendant, who accused a doctor of humiliating and causing undue hardship to him as he belonged to a Scheduled Caste.

Taking a strong view on the facts in the case, Lau said the complaint seemed to be aimed at "settling scores" and the doctor could not be booked under the provisions of the act.

Mortuary attendant Gajraj Singh Tomar of Malviya Nagar colony hospital in south Delhi filed a complaint against the doctor, Rajiv Kumar, for allegedly humiliating him and getting him suspended from his job.

"The complainant had suppressed certain material facts and documents from this court at the time of filing the complaint," Lau said, acting on a report from an assistant commissioner of police.

Declining to proceed with the complaint filed on January 27, 2006, the court noted that the doctor had not played foul in the attendant's suspension and had advanced his opinion on just grounds.

"The ground raised by Tomar that the doctor had given false information to senior officers regarding the pendency of a criminal case against him has been found factually incorrect," Lau said, adding it was not Kumar but the Directorate of Health which suspended Tomar in June 2005 for "misconduct".

Citing this as a "material suppression of fact," the court said that after the department committed a typographical error in writing "misconduct" as "criminal offence" in Tomar's suspension letter, a corrigendum was subsequently issued but the attendant had concealed this fact deliberately.

First Published: Jun 24, 2007 10:37 IST