New Delhi: A recent judgment of Supreme Court in a case registered under SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, is drawing criticism from the communities concerned and its leaders alike.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court held that insult or intimidation of an SC-ST person within the four walls of the building, is not an offence under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Dr. Thol. Thirumavalavan, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader and Member of Parliament issued a press release demanding the Central Government to file an appeal against the judgment. He said that the judgment is shocking.
#வன்கொடுமை_தடுப்புச்_சட்டம்— Thol. Thirumavalavan (@thirumaofficial) November 6, 2020
எஸ்சி / எஸ்டி பிரிவைச் சேர்ந்த ஒருவரை யாரும் பார்க்காத விதத்தில் அவமானப்படுத்தினால் அது வன்கொடுமை ஆகாது என்று உச்ச நீதிமன்றம் அளித்துள்ள தீர்ப்பு அதிர்ச்சியளிக்கிறது. இந்தத் தீர்ப்புக்கு எதிராக மத்திய அரசு உடனடியாக சீராய்வு மனு தாக்கல் செய்ய வேண்டும் pic.twitter.com/VuhKVqLPjL
Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar Azad commented that the judgment is part of a conspiracy to thwart the SC/ST Act again.
"This is happening at the behest of the Central Government. The government should not forget that we are alive." Azad said in a tweet tagging the news of the judgment.
सुप्रीम कोर्ट का कहना है कि एकांत स्थान अथवा बंद कमरे/दफ़्तर में घुसकर दलितों को गाली गलौज देना SC/ST Act के तहत नहीं आता है। फिर से SC/ST Act को खत्म करने की साजिश की जा रही है। ये सब केंद्र सरकार के इशारे पर हो रहा है। सरकार ना भूले कि हम जिंदा कौम हैं। https://t.co/pSKKl3J6qf— Chandra Shekhar Aazad (@BhimArmyChief) November 6, 2020
Suraj Kumar Bauddh, spokesperson of Azad Samaj Party said that the judgment shows the bias of the judiciary where SC/ST community representation is zero. He said that the judgment is a "complete invasion on SC-ST Act".
Former MP and AICC spokesperson Dr. Udit Raj warned of an agitation against the judgment. He questioned why Supreme Court is not interfering so in the case of other acts like domestic violence act, where abuses are happening inside the four walls.
सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने कहा कि चहारदीवारी के भीतर कही बात पर नही लगेगा एससी/एसटी। माना कि कुछ दुरुपयोग होता है लेकिन न्यायपालिका अन्य क़ानून जैसे रेप & दहेज के मामले क्यों बार बार छेड़ नही करती जहां दुरुपयोग ज़्यादा होता है।— Dr. Udit Raj (@Dr_Uditraj) November 6, 2020
Human rights activist and advocate, Dr. B. Karthik Navayan, described the judgment as an instance of mechanical interpretation of law. He said that all atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes take place just because they belong to these communities.
Mechanical interpretation of law is not expected from apex Court. It is a court of Justice, not only court of law. All atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes takes place just because they belong to these communities.— Dr.B.Karthik Navayan (@Navayan) November 6, 2020
The apex court on Thursday was considering an appeal against an Uttarakhand High Court order where an accused in a case registered under the Act was denied bail.
The court said: ""In the list of witnesses appended to the charge-sheet, certain witnesses are named but it could not be said that those were the persons present within the four walls of the building. The offence is alleged to have taken place within the four walls of the building. Therefore, in view of the judgment of this Court, it cannot be said to be a place within public view as none was said to be present within the four walls of the building as per the FIR and/or charge-sheet"
The court also observed that the offence under the act cannot be revoked merely on the fact that the informant is a member of Scheduled Caste unless there is an intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste. Such acts will not be an offence under the Act unless such insult or intimidation is on account of victim belonging to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.