Karnataka High Court: In a criminal petition filed to quash the FIR for alleged offences under several sections of Penal Code, 1860 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 [hereinafter SC/ST Act]the Single Judge bench of M. Nagaprasanna*, J., while partly allowing the criminal petition, quashed the charge sheet concerning offences under the SC/ST Act, and relying on judicial precedents, observed that, mere taking the name of the caste of the victim would not make it an offence under SC/ST Act, unless, it is done with the intention of insulting the person belonging to the said caste.
In the case at hand, during a cricket game, some altercations occurred between parties. The initial complaint by the complainant was made alleging use of filthy language and threatening the life of the complainant’s son. However, while investigating , the Investigating Officer came across witnesses who described the filthy abuses hurled. Therefore, while filing the chargesheet the police also included offences under the SC/ST Act..
The petitioner’s counsel argued that the complaint initially was regarding offences punishable under the IPC and charges under the SC/ST Act were added based on the statements made by the witnesses. It was submitted that mere hurling of abuses without any intention to insult or make casteist remark, would not attract the provisions of SC/ST Act.
Per contra, the respondent argued that the intention behind the hurling of abuses is a matter of trial. It was submitted that since the chargesheet is already filed, therefore the Court should not interfere.
Perusing the facts and complaint, the Court noted that the complainant was abused with the name of his caste, however, except this statement, there was no whisper about the petitioner having hurled the abuses with the intention of humiliating the complainant by making casteist remarks.
Examining the relevant provisions of the SC/ST Act and several rulings by the Supreme Court and other High Courts, the Court noted that insofar as offences under Penal Code, 1860 are concerned, there is material from the complaint till the charge sheet indicating ample evidence to bring home those offences. Therefore, the petitioner must come clean vis-à-vis the offences under Penal Code, 1860, as the offences so alleged are grave in nature.
[Shailesh Kumar v. State of Karnataka, 2023 SCC OnLine Kar 4, decided on 17-01-2023]
*The Judgment was authored by Justice M. Nagaprasanna
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Petitioners: Advocate Sri Jaysham Jaysimha Rao;
For the Respondents: K.P Yashodha, HCGP for R1.