In its submission to the Supreme Court on the SC/ST Atrocities Act, the government had submitted that “no guidelines should be laid” by the court “which may be legislative in nature” and referred to a press statement it had issued in March 2015, stating that “in case of false cases” registered under the Act, “relevant sections of the IPC can be invoked”.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh had cited 2015 NCRB data to say that 75% of cases tried in special courts under the Act had resulted in acquittals. “There is no occasion to go into the issue of validity of provisions of the Atrocities Act,” the ASG said, while submitting that in “genuine cases, anticipatory bail can be granted”. The SC agreed: “In view of decisions in Vilas Pandurang Pawar (supra) and Shakuntla Devi (supra), learned ASG has rightly stated that there is no absolute bar to grant anticipatory bail if no prima facie case is made out in spite of validity of Section 18 of the Atrocities Act being upheld.”
Referring to the ASG’s submission on a question raised in Parliament “as to what punishment should be given against false cases”, the court noted: “The reply given [to Parliament] was that awarding punishment to members of SCs and STs for false implication would be against the spirit of the Act. A press statement dated 19th March, 2015, was issued by the Central Government to the effect that in case of false cases, relevant sections of IPC can be invoked. It was submitted that no guideline should be laid down by this court which may be legislative in nature.”
The ASG had said as many 15% of cases under the Act did not even reach trial as police file closure reports. Citing NCRB data, he had added: “Out of the cases disposed of by the courts in 2015, more than 75 % have resulted in acquittal/withdrawal or compounding…”