Intentional insult, humiliation in public view of SC/ST alone constitutes offence : High Court

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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.

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

An FIR against the applicants was lodged in November 2017 under sections various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act with the allegations that the accused persons, who are seven in number including the applicants entered into the house of the informant and uttered caste-based remark and also assaulted the informant and his family members.

 

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, and hence, no offence would be made out under section 3 (1) (r) of the SC/ST Act.

 

This provision under the SC/ST Act makes it an offence to intentionally insult or intimidate with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view.

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 would indicate that the place of the incident is the informant’s house, which is not a public place or public view.

 

The court further observed that a perusal of the informant’s statement under section 161 of (CrPC) and the FIR demonstrated that no public member was 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, perusing 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) SC/ST Act.

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