Days after Supreme Court noted that there were “instances of abuse” of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and laid down stringent safeguards, the Bombay High Court has held while hearing a criminal appeal that it cannot proceed on the footing that the Act is abused in every case.
The high court bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice P D Naik was hearing a petition by Akash Kadave, who allegedly assaulted and hurled casteist abuses at the complainant belonging to Hindu Mahar community. The altercation began after the complainant’s scooter hit Kadave. Complaints were filed by both sides. Kadave was charged under the SC/ST Act. The session court rejected his anticipatory bail plea, stating that “this was not a case where the bar under Section 18 would have been overcome by the Appellant (Kadave)”. He then moved the high court for anticipatory bail.
Refusing relief to Kadave, the high court held on March 22, “We cannot proceed on the footing that the law is abused in every case. The law is found to be constitutional and valid.”
After Kadave’s lawyer cited the recent Supreme court judgment, the bench observed, “We see no merit in the appeal nor in the argument and the attempt made before us by relying on the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and delivered on 20 March 2018.”
The bench said the Supreme Court judgment was “essentially determining the controversy as to whether the whole enactment can be used to settle scores against the superiors in public service or working privately”.
The bench noted in the order, “Merely because there was an occasion to observe the performance of work of a subordinate Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Officer and because the work was found to be unsatisfactory that adverse remarks were noted in the confidential reports and as a revenge, the superior was implicated, that the Hon’ble Supreme Court termed it as a false case. The entire data in relation to the false implications under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act has been referred in the backdrop of the abuse of the law.”