Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Whether court can release accused prosecuted for an offence under SC & ST (Atrocities) Act on Anticipatory bail if prima facie offence is not made out against him?

 However, it is to be noted that in case of Prathvi Raj Chauhan

(supra), it has also been held that, where no prima facie offence is made out as shown in the FIR, in order to prevent miscarriage of justice the statutory bar would not apply. It is argued that there was a trite land dispute and therefore false allegations are levelled against appellants. The appellant has produced a copy of Civil Suit bearing No. RCS No. 61/2013 filed by mother of appellant No.1 relating to the same land bearing Block No. 155.

6. Except the provisions under the Act of 1989, the other

offences are bailable. There is no specific allegation against particular accused of giving abuses in the name of caste, but a general statement has been made. Therefore, it is difficult to comprehend that all accused in chorus abused at the same time. The report does not bear reference regarding presence of any independent witnesses. Therefore applicability of provisions of SC ST Act is a matter is in dispute and requires serious consideration. Prima facie there is no material to connect appellants with

the offences punishable under Section SC ST Act. Already interim

protection has been granted vide order dated 30/07/2021. There is no

complaint about misuse of liberty. Having regard to all these facts

appellants’ liberty can be protected by putting them on certain terms.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

NAGPUR BENCH AT NAGPUR

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 303 OF 2021

 Sunil  Janrao Padol Vs  The State of Maharashtra,


CORAM : VINAY JOSHI . J .

DATE : 16/09/2021


The learned Counsel for the informant was absent on last date

as well as today. There is no purpose in keeping the matter pending for no

reason. Heard learned counsel for appellants and learned A. P. P. for

respondent no.1.

ADMIT. By consent of learned Counsel present for parties,

Appeal is taken up for final disposal

2. In anticipation of arrest in Crime No.254/2021, registered

with Police Station Dhad, District – Buldhana for the offences punishable

under Sections 294, 323, 506 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal

Code and Sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)s, 3(1)u, 3(1)(za)(A) of the Scheduled

Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act, 1989, appellants are claiming prearrest

protection. The State has resisted bail by filing reply affidavit.

Moreover, informant has also filed reply in resistance coupled with certain

precedents.

3. On 09/07/2021, the informant lodged report with Police

Station regarding occurrence, stating that on that day he along with

others, entered into land bearing Block No. 155, where there was a

cremation ground. The informant states that at that time all appellants

arrived there, manhandled them and also abused in the name of caste.

Moreover, applicants have abused in filthy language and gave threats.

4. The learned Counsel appearing for appellants would submit

that the allegations levelled in First Information Report are vague. As per

informant’s contention all accused gave abuses in chorus and therefore the

same cannot be relied. Moreover, it is argued that the contents of F.I.R. do

not disclose that the offence took place ‘within public view’, meaning

thereby in a place accessible to public and in presence of independent

witnesses. This Court in reported case of Pradnya Pradeep Kenkar Vs.

State of Maharashtra, 2005 (3) Mh.L.J. 368 has taken a view that both

the above ingredients have to be satisfied for constituting the offence

punishable under the Act. Moreover it is submitted that out of land

dispute false case has been filed. Particularly it is pointed out that

appellant No.3 is aged person whilst applicant No.2 is staying elsewhere.

5. Perused the decisions relied by the informant, rendered by

Supreme Court in cases of: (1) Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd Vs. State

of Maharashtra and others reported in 2021 SCC OnLine SC 315, (2)

National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and others Vs. Union of India

and others, reported in (2017) 2 Supreme Court Cases 432 (3) Pruthvi Raj

Chauhan Vs. Union of India reported in (2020) 4 SCC 747. There can be

no dispute about the general prepositions laid down in above referred

cases. However, it is to be noted that in case of Prathvi Raj Chauhan

(supra), it has also been held that, where no prima facie offence is made

out as shown in the FIR, in order to prevent miscarriage of justice the

statutory bar would not apply. It is argued that there was a trite land

dispute and therefore false allegations are levelled against appellants. The

appellant has produced a copy of Civil Suit bearing No. RCS No. 61/2013

filed by mother of appellant No.1 relating to the same land bearing Block

No. 155.

6. Except the provisions under the Act of 1989, the other

offences are bailable. There is no specific allegation against particular

accused of giving abuses in the name of caste, but a general statement has

been made. Therefore, it is difficult to comprehend that all accused in

chorus abused at the same time. The report does not bear reference

regarding presence of any independent witnesses. Therefore applicability

of provisions of SC ST Act is a matter is in dispute and requires serious

consideration. Prima facie there is no material to connect appellants with

the offences punishable under Section SC ST Act. Already interim

protection has been granted vide order dated 30/07/2021. There is no

complaint about misuse of liberty. Having regard to all these facts

appellants’ liberty can be protected by putting them on certain terms.

Hence the following order.

ORDER

(i) Appeal stands allowed.

(ii) Impugned order dated 20/07/2021 passed in Criminal

Bail Application 209/2021, by Additional Sessions Judge,

Buldana, is hereby quashed and set aside.

(iii) Ad-interim order dated 30/07/2021, passed by this Court

is hereby made absolute on same terms and conditions.

(iv) The appellants are directed to continue to attend the

Police Station till filing of charge-sheet or for the period of three

months from today, whichever is earlier.

JUDGE


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