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Complainant's Caste Is Of Paramount Importance & Is 'Sine Qua Non' In A Case Under SC/ST Act: Madhya Pradesh High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
17 Sep 2021 3:00 PM GMT
Complainants Caste Is Of Paramount Importance & Is Sine Qua Non In A Case Under SC/ST Act: Madhya Pradesh High Court
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The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday observed that in a case under SC/ST Act, the caste of the complainant is of paramount importance and is a sine qua non and that it can't be assumed that the complainant would forget to mention in the FIR that the assailants had made aspersions against his caste.Holding thus, the Bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar quashed charge under Section 3(2)(5A) of...

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday observed that in a case under SC/ST Act, the caste of the complainant is of paramount importance and is a sine qua non and that it can't be assumed that the complainant would forget to mention in the FIR that the assailants had made aspersions against his caste.

Holding thus, the Bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar quashed charge under Section 3(2)(5A) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against a man who has been accused of making aspersions on the caste of the complainant party.

Case in brief

On April 12, 2016, a dispute took place between the appellants and the complainant. In the FIR, lodged by the Complainant, it was alleged that there were several people of all the religion and the dispute started as the complainant Jagdish was pushed by the appellant No.1 Alkesh in the crowd and as the complainant objected to the appellant No.1 Alkesh, he and other accused persons started beating him and when the other persons also came, they were also assaulted.

Initially, the case under Section 294, 323, 506, and 34 of the IPC was registered, however, on the basis of the statement recorded by the witness after more than one month, i.e. on May 10, 2016, Section 3(2)(5A), 3(1) (d)(r) of the SC/ST Act were also added in the charge sheet.

Although, at the time of framing of charges, Section 3(1) was dropped and the charges were framed under Section 294, 323, 506(2) of IPC and under Section 3(2)(5A) of the SC/ST Act.

Challenging the framing of charges under Section 3(2)(5A) of the SC/ST Act, the complainant moved to the High Court.

Court's observations

Importantly, the caste angle surfaced for the first time after a delay of 28 days after of the incident and that too in the supplementary statement under Section 161 of Cr.P.C., whereas in the FIR, there was no reference of the caste of the complainant.

In such circumstances, the Court held as follows:

"...the allegation regarding aspersions on the caste of the complainant was an afterthought and has been made subsequently only with a view to taking advantage of the harsher provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which cannot be allowed."

"This court is of the considered opinion that although it is true that an FIR is not an encyclopedia of the incident or the facts surrounding the incident, however, there are certain basic requirements while lodging an FIR on the perusal of which one must be able to find out about the substance of the offence, and the caste of the complainant is something which cannot be missed by him while lodging the same, especially when the caste itself was an important aspect of the matter. The caste of the complainant is of paramount importance and is a sine qua non in a case under the SC/ST Act and it cannot be assumed that the complainant would forget to mention in the FIR that the assailants also made aspersions against his caste," the Court further added.

Case title - Alkesh and others Vs. State of M.P

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