Punjab and Haryana High Court: Considering the misuse of SC and ST Act by so-called social activists, Arvind Singh Sangwan J. directed the Director General of Police to issue instructions to all the Senior Superintendents of Police that no FIR under SC&ST Act be registered at the instance of third party, unless an opinion is sought from the District Attorney (Legal) that the complainant falls within the definition of victim as per SC&ST Act.
The sexagenarian petitioners had approached the Court for grant of anticipatory bail in an FIR registered under Sections 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The petitioner couple, about 67 years and 58 years of age were alleged to have used some derogatory remarks against their daughter-in-law, Ramanpreet Kaur who belonged to SC/ST cast while having a private conversation with their son. Noticeably, prior to performance of the marriage, the petitioners had disowned their own son by issuing a notice in the newspaper on 14-09-2016 as he used to maltreat them.
The petitioners submitted that after performing marriage, the atrocities of their son had increased as he wanted them to be ousted from their own the house. The pressure on the petitioners to transfer the property in the name of their son went to the extent that the petitioners had to approach Commissioner of Police for seeking protection to their life and liberty. In the above backdrop, the petitioners contended that as a ploy to oust the petitioners from the house, their son had uploaded the audio recording of their private conversation on his social media profile and the complainants namely Navdeep, Sunil Bagha and Gurdeep Singh, claiming themselves to be a social activist in Jalandhar had got the aforesaid FIR registered.
The petitioners argued that none of the informant would fall under the definition of ‘Victim’ as per Section 2(1)(ec) of the SC&ST Act, which refer to a victim as “individual” who has suffered or experienced physical, mental, psychological, emotional or monetary harm to his property, which includes his relatives, legal guardian and legal heirs.
Noticing that Ramanpreet Kaur had not come forward to lodge any complaint with the police and the three complainants were not related to her in any manner, the Bench opined that the petitioners were senior citizens with no criminal antecedents and, admittedly, there was a property dispute between the petitioners, on one side and their son on the other side, on account of the fact that their son had married to a dalit woman has performed marriage with Ramanpreet Kaur, the FIR so registered by strangers to the suit was a clear misuse of process of law.
Therefore, with the view that no complaint was lodged by the victim (daughter-in-law), and none of the complainant had any locus standi, the Bench allowed the application for anticipatory bail. [Bhagwant Singh Randhawa v. State of Punjab, CRM-M No.42685 of 2021, decided on 12-10-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together
For the Petitioners: Amit Dhawan, Advocate
For the State of Punjab: Joginder Pal Ratra, DAG, Punjab
For the Complainants: Navraj Singh, Advocate