13 Nov 2023 2:00 PM GMT
Madhya Pradesh High Court has recently quashed criminal proceedings pending against the accused for abusing a person by caste name ‘Chamar’ in a school staffroom.The single-judge bench of Justice Vishal Dhagat observed that the abuses said to have been hurled at the complainant were not uttered in a ‘public place’. Therefore, the petitioners cannot be arraigned for offences under...
Madhya Pradesh High Court has recently quashed criminal proceedings pending against the accused for abusing a person by caste name ‘Chamar’ in a school staffroom.
The single-judge bench of Justice Vishal Dhagat observed that the abuses said to have been hurled at the complainant were not uttered in a ‘public place’. Therefore, the petitioners cannot be arraigned for offences under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 [SC & ST (POA) Act], the court further added.
“On going through aforesaid definitions given in these acts, it is clear that offence shall be committed in a public view to make out an offence under Section 3(1)(x) of SC & ST (POA) Act. Staff room is not a place within public view, therefore, no offence under Section 3(1)(x) of SC & ST (POA) Act is made out against petitioner”, the court observed in its order.
The court reasoned that a staff room is not a public place and common public or citizens have no access to such a place without the permission of the school. For the same reason, the court further held that no offence under Section 294 IPC (Obscene Acts and Songs) has been made out either.
Though abuses were allegedly made targeting the reputation of the petitioner, it has not been stated in the complaint that alarm was caused to the petitioner by virtue of such abuses. Therefore, the court concluded that Section 506 of IPC [Criminal Intimidation] wouldn’t apply to the facts and circumstances of the case.
Accordingly, the court quashed the criminal proceedings pending against the accused since 2010 before Chief Judicial Magistrate, Shahdol District for offences under Sections 294, 506(II) of IPC & 3(1)(x) of SC & ST (POA) Act.
According to the complainant, during a meeting that took place in the school staffroom, disparaging remarks based on the caste of the complainant were made by the petitioners.
During the course of arguments, the counsel for the petitioners vehemently asserted that the term ‘Public’ as defined under Section 12 of the Indian Penal Code means ‘any class of public’ or ‘any community’, i.e., a place where the public has access to. A staffroom can’t be considered as a place that can be accessed by the general public, submitted the petitioners’ counsel. On the other hand, the Government Advocate appearing for the state argued that other teachers were present in the staffroom when the complainant was abused, and therefore, it must be considered as made within the public view.
Advocate Vipin Yadav appeared for the petitioners and Advocate Akshay Namdeo appeared for the state.
Case Title: Ashutosh Tiwari & Anr v. State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr
Case No: Misc. Criminal Case No. 6138 of 2010
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