Court slams abuse of SC/ST Act

Smriti Singh, TNN, Aug 15, 2010, 11.59pm IST

NEW DELHI: Concerned about the growing misuse of the Scheduled Castes
and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a trial court has
suggested to the commissioner of police that the final reports filed
under the Act be monitored at a ‘‘higher level to check its frequent

The court’s remarks came while refusing to take cognizance of a
chargesheet filed by Delhi Police under various provisions of the IPC
and SC/ST Act against three persons following a land dispute with S S
Khemwal, a former deputy
secretary with the ministry of petroleum.

"The present case is just another glaring example of abuse of a
special legislation having stringent provisions; so enacted to
ameliorate the lot of hitherto, under-privileged, deprived and
marginalised section of the society," additional sessions judgeKamini
Lau said.

As per the case, Khemwal, a member of the scheduled caste community,
filed a complaint in 2007 alleging that few men were illegally
harvesting crop from his land and when he intervened they harassed and
tortured him. He further alleged that there was a ‘‘non-performance of
duties’’ by the public servants since despite the directions of the
deputy commissioner, they did not enter his name in Khasra Girdawari
(land records) for three consecutive years.

On the basis of his statement, police registered a case against the
accused under various sections of IPC. The police later added Section
3(1) (v) of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, 1989, as the complainant belonged to schedule caste

After going through the records of the case, the court found that
there was no substance in the complaint which could invoke the Act.
Slamming the police for naming six revenue officers in the
chargesheet, the court said that there was no sanction to seek their
prosecution and further they cannot be prosecuted for discharging
judicial and quasi-judicial functions.

The court also rapped an assistant commissioner of police (ACP), who
investigated the case registered by Khemwal with Swaroop Nagar police
station on September 21, 2007, for allowing himself to be played into
the hands of the complainant.

"The investigating officer has filed the chargesheet against as many
as nine persons without there being any material, this only makes this
court ponder the reason why this has been done. Either the
investigating officer is unaware of the fundamentals of criminal
jurisprudence or he is absolutely indifferent to the consequences of
his act," it said.

The court added that the complainant himself had till date not been
able to establish his legal right over the land in question at village
Nangli Poona that was earmarked by the government for allotment to
persons living below the poverty line.

The court said that the Delhi Police chief should be informed about
the manner in which the investigation was conducted and chargesheet
filed in the case without any substance. "It is, therefore, necessary
that the commissioner of police, Delhi, be made aware of the manner in
which the investigations have been conducted and the chargesheet filed
not only against three public persons but also against as many as six
government officials without there being any basis for the same," ASJ
Lau said.


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