Conviction modified in light of accused being in a drunken condition at the time of incident

Chhattisgarh High Court

Chhattisgarh High Court: Conviction of the appellant (accused) under Section 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was set aside by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Arvind Singh Chandel, J. while upholding his conviction under Section 323 IPC.

The appellant was accused of abusing the complainant referring to his caste and also giving a fist blow on his chest. It was alleged that the appellant was shouting and creating nuisance at the bus stop, and when the complainant tried to stop him, he abused the complainant and assaulted him. The appellant denied the allegations and submitted that at the time of the incident, he was in a drunken condition. He challenged the decision of the trial court whereby he was convicted and sentenced under the section mentioned hereinabove.

The High Court, on considering the record, found that the medical expert who examined the appellant right after the incident, stated that the appellant was in a drunken condition and he was staggering and stuttering while speaking. Such being the situation, the Court held that while in a drunken condition, even if the appellant abused the complainant referring to his caste, it was not established that the appellant did so with an intent to humiliate the complainant. In such circumstances, the offence under Section 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 couldn’t be proved against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, the appellant was acquitted of the said charge. However, his conviction under Section 323 IPC as decided by the trial court was upheld. The appeal was disposed of accordingly. [Hulas Singh v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine Chh 512, dated 18-05-2018]

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