Dispute no reason to ignore caste slur: HC

Bombay High Court (HC) observed Monday a charge as serious as a casteist slur against a member of the SC community cannot be overlooked just because there are differences between the complainant and the accused.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Published: April 23, 2013 2:24:27 am

Bombay High Court (HC) observed Monday a charge as serious as a casteist slur against a member of the SC community cannot be overlooked just because there are differences between the complainant and the accused.

Panvel resident Kusum Pakhare moved HC against a sessions court order of June 29,2012,discharging a woman who allegedly insulted her using caste.

The accused had filed a complaint of sexual harassment against her husband. She said Pakhare was aggrieved as her husband was transferred following the complaint and made false allegations under section 3(1) (x) of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,1989.

The section entails punishment of six months to five years imprisonment to persons of another caste for insulting/intimidating members of SC/ST communities in public.

HC struck down the sessions court order discharging the accused woman. “Merely because there is some background to the complaint,an allegation as serious as atrocity against a member of the SC/ST community cannot be brushed aside,” it said.

The sessions court had said Pakhare had a reason to falsely implicate the accused,who had filed an FIR against her husband at Versova police station on September 5,2010,for sending lewd SMSes since May 2010. The accused woman said he was trying to get close to her on the pretext of work. Following the complaint,the man was transferred from his Mumbai Central office to Beed on March 3,2011.

Pakhare said while she was waiting near an ST bus stand with a friend on September 8,2011,the accused woman abused and tried to slap her.

Her lawyer V V Purwant said the sessions court should have taken into account that the accused could have possibly insulted Pakhare owing to differences with her husband.

HC said it was possible Pakhare might be aggrieved by the allegations against her husband but said this should be examined during trial.

“Once it is indicated the complainant (Pakhare) was intentionally humiliated,the applicant could not have been discharged,” it said,calling the sessions court order “completely perverse”.

The case

Panvel resident Kusum Pakhare moved HC against a sessions court order of June 29,2012,discharging a woman who allegedly insulted her using caste.

The accused had filed a complaint of sexual harassment against her husband. She said Pakhare was aggrieved as her husband was transferred following the complaint and made false allegations under section 3(1) (x) of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,1989.

The section entails punishment of six months to five years imprisonment to persons of another caste for insulting/intimidating members of SC/ST communities in public.

HC struck down the sessions court order discharging the accused woman.

“Merely because there is some background to the complaint,an allegation as serious as atrocity against a member of the SC/ ST community cannot be brushed aside,” it said.

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