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SC /ST Prevention Of Atrocities Act Is Prospective In Nature, Act Committed Prior To Its Enactment Not An Offence: Karnataka High Court

Mustafa Plumber
7 March 2022 12:30 PM GMT
SC /ST Prevention Of Atrocities Act Is Prospective In Nature, Act Committed Prior To Its Enactment Not An Offence: Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court has held that the Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, is prospective in nature and alleged acts committed before its enactment cannot be an offence. A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit said, "The offences allegedly been committed ago i.e., on 18.10.1975; complaint was filed with inordinate delay with no...

The Karnataka High Court has held that the Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, is prospective in nature and alleged acts committed before its enactment cannot be an offence.

A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit said, "The offences allegedly been committed ago i.e., on 18.10.1975; complaint was filed with inordinate delay with no plausible explanation for the same. Ordinarily, the stale claims would not be entertained."

It added,

"The above apart, the alleged acts do not constitute an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which is prospective in operation, there being constitutional bar to the retrospectivity enacted in Article 20(2)."

The petitioners Dr Shantha Raj T R and others had approached the court seeking to quash the private complaint registered by Roshni Pereira and the order passed by the Magistrate court directing further investigation on it.

The bench on going through the records said, "It has been a settled principle of criminal jurisprudence that when the act complained of is not an offence when committed, a free citizen cannot be brought to book merely because such act is criminalised in a subsequent legislation."

Accepting the submission of the petitioners that criminal law cannot be set in motion casually as held by the Apex Court in Pepsi Foods Ltd. v. Special Judicial Magistrate, 1998 SCC (CRI) 1400, the bench said, "The Trial Court Judge before referring the matter u/s 156 for further investigation ought to have been adverted to all these aspects and non-advertence has rendered the proceedings vulnerable for challenge."

Following which it allowed the petition and set at naught the FIR registered by the police and set aside the proceedings pending before the Magistrate court.

Case Title: Dr Shantha Raj T R v. The State By Sub Inspector of Police

Case No: Criminal Petition 7980/2014

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 64

Date of Order: February 23, 2022

Appearance: Advocate Satish K a/w Advocate M S Bhagwat for petitioner; Advocate Renukaradhya for R1

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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