22 Jun 2022 7:30 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has quashed proceedings initiated against an accused under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, holding that alleged abuses hurled by him to the complainant were in the basement of a building which was not a place of public view or a public place. A single judge bench of Justice M...
The Karnataka High Court has quashed proceedings initiated against an accused under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, holding that alleged abuses hurled by him to the complainant were in the basement of a building which was not a place of public view or a public place.
A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna while allowing the petition filed by one Rithesh Pais, said,
"If the complaint, summary of charge sheet and the statement of witnesses, CW-2 in particular, are read in tandem, It would unmistakably reveal that hurling of abuses has happened at the basement where CWs-1 to 6, were working and in the basement, it is not indicated, any other person was even present."
"Two factors would emerge from a reading of the aforesaid statements – one being, the basement of the building was not a place of public view and two, only persons who claim to be present were the complainant/CW1 and other employees of Sri Jayakumjar R.Nair or friends of CW-1. Therefore, hurling of abuses is clearly not in a place of public view or a public place for the aforesaid provisions of the Act to get attracted in the case at hand."
It was alleged that when the complainant (Mohan) was working in a newly constructed, the accused/petitioner went there and asked the complainant to stop the work. When the latter refused to stop the work, it is alleged that the the accused/petitioner addressed the complainant taking the name of his caste, threatened his life and obstructed construction activity. The incident was said to have taken place in front of witnesses CW-2 to CW-6.
Accordingly, a complaint was registered by the 2nd respondent/ complainant against the petitioner alleging that he has hurled abuses taking the name of his caste which would become offence punishable under Section 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(s) of the Act. The police after investigation have filed a charge sheet.
Senior Advocate Sandesh J. Chouta for the Petitioner submitted that hurling of abuses is neither in a public place nor in a place of public view; it is admittedly hurled at the basement of the building where no passerby was present.
The Respondent argued that the abuses were admittedly hurled in front of CWs-2 to 6, the witnesses and the said act is also seen by other public.
At the outset, the bench noted that the present criminal case was initiated after the petitioner obtained injunction against the employer of the complainant namely Jayakumjar R.Nair.
It then referred to Sections 3(1)(r) & 3(1)(s) of the SC/ST Act and said, "What is necessary to drive home an offence that would become punishable under these Sections is that hurling of abuses must be either in a public place or a place of public view."
It added, "The complainant is CW-1. It is again not in dispute that all the witnesses including the complainant are co-employees of Sri Jayakumjar R.Nair or fiends of CW-1/complainant."
Placing reliance on the Apex Court judgment in the case of Hitesh Verma v. State Of Uttarakhand, the court observed,
"Sri Jayakumar R.Nair wanting to shoot the shoulder of his employee – CW-1 for the act of the petitioner having registered a suit against Sri Jayakumar R.Nair and also secured an interim order of injunction leading to registration of the crime cannot be brushed aside as it demonstrates a clear link in the chain of events. Therefore, the registration of crime itself suffers from want of bona fides."
As regards other offences under sections 504, 506 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code, the bench said,
"An offence punishable under Section 323 IPC there should be hurt caused in the squabble. A perusal at the records would reveal that the wound certificate shows a simple scratch mark on the fore-arm and another scratch mark on the chest. Bleeding is not what is indicated. Therefore, simple scratch marks cannot become an offence under Section 323 of the IPC."
"Insofar as Sections 504 and 506 of the IPC are concerned, they are clearly an offshoot of the allegations made under the Act. Therefore, none of the offences under Sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s) or Section 3(2)(va) can be driven home in the case at hand as they are all shrouded with the act of 8th defendant seeking to wreck vengeance against the petitioner for having registered the suit. Therefore, none of the offences alleged are sustainable in the peculiar facts of the case at hand."
Accordingly it allowed the petition and quashed the proceedings pending before the magistrate court.
Case Title: RITHESH PAIS v. STATE OF KARNATAKA
Case No: CRIMINAL PETITION No.3597 OF 2022
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 221
Date of Order: 10TH DAY OF JUNE, 2022
Appearance: Senior Advocate SANDESH J. CHOUTA a/w Advocate LAKSHMIKANTH G for petitioner; HCGP K.S. ABHIJITH, FOR R1; Advocate AJAY PRABHU, for advocate B.S. SACHIN, FOR R2
Click Here To Read/Download Order