SC-ST Act is prospective or retrospective? Kar HC quashes criminal proceedings for offences committed in the year 1975

Karnataka High Court: Krishna S Dixit J. quashes the criminal proceedings as the SC-ST act is not retrospective in nature.

The petitioners filed instant petition under Section 482 of Cr.PC 1973 seeking quashment of criminal proceedings as the Court has referred the matter for investigation in exercise of power u/s 156 (3) of the Code.

The Court observed that the offences allegedly been committed years ago i.e., on 18-10-1975 and the complaint was filed with inordinate delay with no plausible explanation for the same and thus ordinarily, the stale claims would not be entertained;

The Court further observed that the alleged acts do not constitute an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which is prospective in operation, there being constitutional bar to the retrospectively enacted in Article 20(2); it has been a settled principle of criminal jurisprudence that when the act complained of is not an offence when committed; a free citizen cannot be brought to book merely because such act is criminalized in a subsequent legislation.

The Court thus held “In the above circumstances, this petition succeeds and as a consequence, the FIR No.46/2014 registered by respondent No.1-Police is also set at naught and the proceedings in PCR No.63/2013 are also set aside.”

[Dr Shantha Raj TR v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 204, decided on 23-02-2022]


Appearances

For petitioners: Mr. Sathish K and Mr. M S Bhagwat

For respondents: Ms. Renukaradhya


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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