Thursday, April 25, 2024
154,225FansLike
654,155FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe

SC/ST Act enacted to protect underprivileged against any atrocities: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court while allowing an application said that the S.C/ S.T Act has been enacted with the objective that the underprivileged need to be protected against any atrocities to give effect to the constitutional ideals. The said Act cannot be converted into a charter for exploitation or oppression by any unscrupulous person or by police for extraneous reasons against other citizens.

A Single Bench of Justice Prashant Kumar passed this order while hearing an application under section 482 filed by Manmohan Krishna.

This is a case where a Professor had to pay a very heavy price for asking an Assistant Professor to take classes and teach properly. He was made an accused and had to face trial for at least eight years, and further had to face humiliation, stigma, for no fault of his own, and on the other hand, the complainant, by misusing the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, had virtually threatened the other seniors from taking any action against her.

The application under Section 482 Cr.P.C has been preferred by the applicant praying for quashing charge sheet dated 08.10.2016 including the entire proceeding in Case under Section 354C, 504, 506 of IPC and under Section 3(2)(va) of the S.C/S.T Act, Police Station-Colonelganj, District Allahabad pending in the Court of Special judge, SC/ST Act, Allahabad.

The facts of the case are that O.P No. 2 Deep Shikha Sonkar was appointed as Assistant Professor in Department of Economics in University of Allahabad, and she joined in July, 2013 and at the time of her joining, Professor Jagdish Narain Purwar was the Head of Department. Prof Jagdish Narain found working of the complainant unsatisfactory during her probation period and gave negative entry to her along with certain other Assistant Professors. Thereafter, Prof Prahlad Kumar became the Head of Department of Economics on 15.02.2014, who also during the course of time evaluated the complainant and gave a negative report about her working.

Counsel for the applicant submitted that the trial Court has taken cognizance of the matter directly without any committal order. He submitted that Section 193 Cr.P.C lays down that except as otherwise expressly provided by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force, no Court of Session shall take cognizance of any offence as a Court of original jurisdiction unless the case has been committed to it by a Magistrate under this Code. There is no provision in the S.C/S.T Act which empowers the Court to take cognizance directly without the accused being committed to it for trial.

Per contra, A.P Singh, counsel for O.P no 2 submitted that the FIR is placed on a different set of facts and it should not be seen in the background of previous complaints.

He further submitted that the report in which O.P no 2’s work was found to be less satisfactory, which was not solely against her and it reflected details of other Professors too.

He further contended that it has been observed by the Apex Court in the catena of judgments that FIR is not an encyclopaedia. It has been observed that the FIR need not contain all the facts. To buttress his argument, he has placed reliance on judgments passed by the Supreme Court in the matters of Ranjit Singh and others vs State of Madhya Pradesh, State of Uttar Pradesh vs Naresh and others .

Before diverting to the merits of the matter, the Court likes to see whether the allegations made in the FIR against the applicant and the statements given by the complainant when read together, discloses the commission of offence or whether prima facie no case is made out against the applicant.

However, in the charge-sheet the applicant was charged under Section 354C, 504, 506 IPC and under Section 3(2)(va) of the S.C/S.T Act.

The Court observed that,

From the bare perusal of the contents of the FIR, and the statements under Section 161 and 164 CrP.C, it is quite apparent that there is no such allegation against the applicant that fortifies invoking of Section 354C of IPC against him. The ingredients of Section 354C of IPC of voyeurism is only applicable if an accused captures the image of a woman engaging in private act, in circumstances where she would usually have the expectations of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person. In this case, the allegations levelled against the applicant does not fall within the category of the offence and hence, no offence is made out against him under Section 354C of IPC.

The Delhi High Court in the matter of Saurabh Aggarwal (supra) has held that there had been an alarming increase of cases under Section 354 (Section 354A to 354D) only to arm-twist and ensure that the accused succumbs to the demands of the complainant. The Court also noted the fact that the police spend a lot of time investigating these frivolous cases and also the precious time of the Court is wasted in dealing with such cases. Since, the valuable judicial time is also spent in hearing such frivolous cases, consequently, such proceedings are apparently abuse of process of law.

Further, the applicant had been charged under Section 504 of IPC. The ingredients of Section 504 of IPC are (a) intentional insult, (b) insult may be such as to give provocation to the person insulted, and (c) the accused must intend to know that such provocation would cause another to break the public peace or to commit any other offence. In the allegations levelled in this FIR supported by the statements of O.P no 2 under Sections 161 and 164 Cr.P.C, the insult alleged is not of a degree that would provoke a person to break public peace or to commit any other offence, and hence, the ingredients of Section 504 of IPC are not satisfied and the same offence could not have been levelled against the applicant.

“The S.C/S.T Act has been enacted with the objective that the underprivileged need to be protected against any atrocities to give effect to the constitutional ideals. At the same time, the said Act cannot be converted into a charter for exploitation or oppression by any unscrupulous person or by police for extraneous reasons against other citizens as has been found on several occasions. Any harassment of an innocent citizen, irrespective of caste or religion, is against the guarantee of the Constitution. This Court must enforce such a guarantee. Law should not result in caste hatred. The Preamble to the Constitution, which is the guiding star for interpretation, incorporates the values of liberty, equality and fraternity. This Court is not expected to adopt a passive or negative role and remain bystander or a spectator if violation of rights is observed. It is necessary to fashion new tools and strategies so as to check injustice and violation of fundamental rights. No procedural technicality can stand in the way of enforcement of fundamental rights.

The case is a classic case where a subordinate Professor, whenever had been asked to teach properly and to be well prepared in the classes, would go and file a complaint against the Head of Department. The entire complaint filed by her is nothing but a pure abuse of process of law and misuse of the provisions of the S.C/S.T Act.

This is a case where there is pure abuse of process of law where the complainant, just to wreak personal vengeance against the Head of Department, had tried to implicate him and his colleagues by filing false and frivolous cases. Whenever the Seniors/Head of Department/Professors asked her to teach properly and to take classes regularly, she would file a complaint against them. This is not one of the first cases which happened. The complainant, who is a well educated lady, knows the provisions of law very well and she had been abusing the provisions of law for personal gain. The complaint filed by the complainant was nothing but a pure abuse of process of law”, the Court further observed while allowing the application.

“This is a case where the Court if it does not interfere and exercises the inherent powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C, it will fail in its duty. In exercise of inherent powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C, the instant application is allowed and charge sheet dated 08.10.2016 and the entire criminal proceedings of Case Police Station Colonelganj, District-Allahabad pending in the Court of Special Judge, S.C/S.T Act, so far it relates to the applicant, are hereby quashed”, the order reads.

spot_img

News Update