Court raps man for misusing SC/ST Act

Sairam Sanath Kumar Posted online: Mon Aug 16 2010, 00:05 hrs
New Delhi : A Delhi court recently came down heavily on a petitioner
belonging to a lower caste for the misuse of the Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989. Additional
Sessions Judge Kamini Lau, in her judgment on a land dispute, said,
“Unfortunately one comes across growing instances of cases where the
provisions of this Act have not been invoked for the betterment of
those it seeks to protect, but by those who want to settle personal
scores by giving to an otherwise ordinary dispute the colour of an
alleged atrocity under the Act.”
“This court will not remain a mute spectator to any abuse of law and
will not be a privy to any exploitative situation of misuse of this
Act whose abuse has otherwise raised serious concerns all over the

Complainant SS Khemwal, a former senior officer in the Union Petroleum
Ministry, had alleged that Ravinder Singh and his two brothers
attempted to grab his land and tortured him in September 2007. Khemwal
also indicted the Tehsildar and ex-Tehsildars of Narela for failing to
perform their public duties. He invoked several provisions of the IPC,
Delhi Land Reforms Act and the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

However, the court observed that the complainant was neither an owner
nor transferee of the land. In fact, Singh had purchased the land in
2005. Khemwal contended that his father started cultivating it in
1990, alongwith the adjoining land which belonged to them, and since
then owners of the land did not take care of it.

The court called the complainant and his father “encroachers” who have
no right over the land. “The provisions of this Special Legislation
(SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989) cannot be invoked as
a device to create and regularise a right where none exists,” the
court said.

The court also dismissed the allegations against public functionaries
saying, “Any attempt by a person to approach public officers under the
threat of prosecution is nothing short of criminal intimidation and
cannot be permitted.”

In a verdict in April, the same judge had made similar observations on
the Act. The court had noted that the complainant had changed her
statement before the police and invoked the SC/ST Act against the
relatives of her landlord after talking to her lawyer.


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