Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Harnaresh Singh Gill, J.,quashed the criminal proceedings against the appellant accused of using abusive language against the complainant over a phone call in the name of his caste.

Petitions were filed against the order passed by Additional Sessions Judge (Exclusive Court for Heinous Crime against Women), Kurukshetra wherein it was observed that prima facie offence punishable under Section 506 read with Section 34 Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 3 (i) (r), 3 (i) (s) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was made out.

Respondent alleged that petitioners had used abusive language against him on his mobile phone in the name of his caste and also gave threat to kill him.

Complainant alleged that Sandeep Kumar under the influence of Pardeep Kumar said ‘you sister fucker chamaar how dare you take possession from us and fill the firni with soil, we will kill you’. 

Petitioners counsel submitted that allegations made against the petitioners do not fall within the provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 as the telephonic call is not in a public view. Hence, the ingredients of offence under the SC/ST Act and Section506/34 IPC are not made out.

Allegations in the present matter were with regard to the usage of caste based remarks over a mobile phone call to the informant, or a member of Scheduled Castes, of which there are no records.

Decision

To constitute the offence under the Act, it must be alleged that the accused intentionally insulted or intimidated with intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Schedule Tribe in any public place within public view.

In Court’s opinion with regard to the present matter, once it’s admitted that the alleged conversation over the mobile phone was not in a public gaze nor witnessed by any third party, the alleged use of caste words cannot be said to have been committed within the public view.

Court added to its observation that,

Merely uttering such wrong words in the absence of any public view does not show any intention or mens rea to humiliate the complainant who besides being Sarpanch, belongs to Scheduled Caste community.

Basic ingredients of the offence in the FIR are that there must be intentional insult, secondly the insult must be done in a public place within public view, which is not in the present case.

Thus, the essential ingredients which must be fulfilled, are not found in the present case.

Since no offence under Section 3 of the SC & ST Act is found to be made out, the offence under Section 506 IPC read with Section 34 IPC, which stemmed out of the alleged offence under Section 3 of the SC and ST Act, is also not made out. [Pardeep Kumar v. State of Haryana, CRR No. 1354 of 2019 (O&M), decided on 14-05-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: K.K. Sonawane, J., while reversing the judgment passed by Additional Sessions Judge, allowed pre-arrest bail applications of appellants filed under Section 438 CrPC.

The appellants were accused of assaulting the complainant and abusing him using filthy language while referring to his caste “Adiwasi”. An FIR was lodged and a criminal case was registered under Sections 324, 504, 506 read with Section 34 IPC and under Section 3 (1)(r)(s) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Apprehending arrest by Police, the appellants rushed to the court of Additional Sessions Judge for the relief of anticipatory bail under Section 438 CrPC. However, he rejected all the applications. This order was the subject matter of present appeals.

S.K. Chavan and R.J. Nirmal, Advocates representing the appellants submitted that they were students taking education in Agricultural College who had no concern with the alleged crime and were falsely implicated. Per contra, D.S. Jape, Assistant Public Prosecutor appearing for the State submitted that Section 18-A of SC/ST Act puts an embargo on the Court for exercising powers under Section 438 CrPC.

On perusing the FIR, the High Court was of the view that prima facie, ingredients of Section 3(1)(r)(s) did not match with factual score of the present case. Relying on its earlier decisions, the Court observed, “in spite of bar under Section 18 of the Act of 1989, for invocation of powers under Section 438 of the CrPC, it is still open to this Court to find out by looking to the FIR of the case itself is as to whether prima facie case is made out by the complainant against appellants.” Opining that incriminating circumstances to show that “intentional insult” or “intimidation with intent to humiliate” the complainant within public view on the part of appellants were lacking in this case, the High Court held it to be a fit case where anticipatory bail may be granted to them. Hence, the impugned order was quashed and the appeals were allowed. [Krishna v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 341, decided on 27-02-2019]