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SC-ST Act- Not Necessary That Accused Has To Be Straightaway Arrested On Mere Registration Of Crime: Telangana High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
4 Jan 2021 5:03 AM GMT
SC-ST Act- Not Necessary That Accused Has To Be Straightaway Arrested On Mere Registration Of Crime: Telangana High Court
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It cannot be said that merely because crime is reported under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, straightaway accused has to be arrested, the Telanagana High Court observed while refusing to direct the police to arrest an MLA who allegedly threatened a journalist.Guguloth Santosh Naik, a journalist in Vaartha Telugu vernacular daily, had reported that...

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It cannot be said that merely because crime is reported under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, straightaway accused has to be arrested, the Telanagana High Court observed while refusing to direct the police to arrest an MLA who allegedly threatened a journalist.

Guguloth Santosh Naik, a journalist in Vaartha Telugu vernacular daily, had reported that the member of Legislative Assembly representing Patancheru Assembly constituency, and his henchmen grabbed prime lands, adjacent to main roads. He alleged that, infuriated with said report, the MLA  telephoned the petitioner and threatened him with dire consequences, abused him and his parents using filthy language and in the name of his caste in an uncivilized manner and directed him to appear before him. This made him file a complaint based on which a crime was registered against the MLA on 08.12.2020 under Sections 448, 504, 506 read with Section 109 IPC and Section 3(2) (va) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Journalist, in his writ petition, alleged that the Police have not arrested the accused and there is no progress made in the crime reported.  

Referring to various judgments in this regard, the court observed that on mere registration of crime, it is not necessary that person should be arrested. Justice P. Naveen Rao said:

Freedom of expression is core to democratic values and is imbedded in our rich culture. Free and fair journalism is epitome of this expression. Fearless journalism is as vital to democracy as any other organ of the society. There are no two opinions on need to ensure and preserve these values. However, having regard to the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court and having regard to the fact that the writ petition was instituted within four days of reporting crime, it cannot be said that police have not acted diligently in investigating into the crime and in not arresting the fifth respondent.

The court added that it would be premature, at this stage, to hold the action of  police in not arresting the accused as amounting to abuse or misuse of power or dereliction of their solemn duty.  

The court, granted liberty to him to make appropriate application to the Deputy Superintendent of Police enlisting the alleged threat perception of the petitioner to his person, family and property and requesting to provide protection to him. If such application is made, the 4th respondent is directed to consider the same and if satisfied with threat perception, to provide protection sought by the petitioner, the bench said.

Case: Guguloth Santosh Naik vs. State of Telengana
Coram: Justice P. Naveen Rao
Counsel:  M/s.Umesh Chadra PVG, Adv N.Naveen Kumar,

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