Bhaskar Gaikwad, who still works as a store-keeper in the department of technical education and is currently posted at the Pune Engineering College, on Tuesday said that the fight was not over while referring to a Supreme Court’s judgment protecting public servants and private employees from arbitrary arrests under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
“A review of the Supreme Court’s decision will have to be sought…Karaylach laagel (I will have to do it). The rights of the poor have to be protected,” he said. His lawyer, Balasaheb Deshmukh, confirmed they would soon file a review petition in the apex court.
The court, while ruling against Gaikwad — the original complainant — on Monday, had laid that down safeguards, such as anticipatory bail and a preliminary inquiry, were required before registering complaints under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 to protect innocents from abuse or misuse of the law.
A day later, Gaikwad summed up the judgment in just two words: “Kaydach sampavla (The law has been finished).”
Fifty-three-year-old Gaikwad is now bracing for a longer legal battle. He told The Indian Express on Tuesday that he still had a case that he would want to press before the Supreme Court.
“There has been no discussion on our original case. This is against the Atrocities Act. We can show this to the court,” said the resident of Chinchwad, near Pune.
As per the High court’s order of May 2017, Gaikwad’s original complaint pertains to a case under sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 against Satish Bhise, the then principal of the Government College of Pharmacy at Karad, and Kishor Burade, a professor, who were posted in the college in 2007-2008, when Gaikwad worked there as a store-keeper.
Bhise and Burade, as recorded in the order of the Bombay High Court, are both Brahmins, while Gaikwad belonged to the Mahar community, a fact known to the duo.
In the case, Gaikwad alleged that Bhise and Burade had “colluded with each other and communicated some information, which was false and mischievous with regard to the conduct of the complainant. They have, therefore, caused an injury to him.”
“The confidential letter dated August 26, 2008 from the Joint Director of Technical Education, Divisional Office, Pune apprised the complainant of these remarks,” the High Court was told.
On September 19, 2009, Gaikwad sent a complaint to the joint director and also approached the Karad City Police Station simultaneously. He said Bhise had, in Gaikwad’s annual confidential report for 2007-08, stated that “…he is in the habit of making false complaints, that he does not deserve any promotion, that he requires more and extensive training, that he is not fit to work at the regional level.” While Burade had, allegedly reported that Gaikwad’s integrity and character were “not good.”
Subhash Mahajan, former director of technical education in Maharashtra government, had moved the court seeking quashing of an FIR of March 28, 2016, that was lodged by Gaikwad.
Gaikwad said that after he lodged an FIR against Bhise and Burade, the prosecution had sought sanction under section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code to prosecute them as they were Class I government officers.
“He (Mahajan) has addressed a communication so as to shield and protect Mr Bhise and Mr Burade, acting in connivance and collusion with them. The intent on the part of the applicant was to save both Mr Bhise and Mr Burade from criminal legal proceedings and the probable punishment. That is why despite not possessing requisite powers, he himself took the decision to refuse sanction,” Gaikwad had alleged.
The Supreme Court, however, held that the FIR against Mahajan is liable to be quashed. “Proceedings in the present case are clear abuse of process of court and are quashed,” the apex court held.