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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Whenever there is a dispute between the parties in relation to the property and a complaint has been made alleging commission of offence under Section 3(1)(x) of the Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Court is under a duty to scrutinize the allegations with great care and circumspection. The reason is; there is every possibility for the accused being implicated in the case on account of civil dispute.=Even from the allegations mentioned in the First Information Report, the petitioners did not assault the de facto complainant and his people. It is only stated in the complaint that they abused the de facto complainant and his people in the name of their caste.. To attract the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Mens rea is the essential ingredient. The utterances made in the name of caste should be with an intention to humiliate or intimidate the persons belonging to Schedule Caste or Schedule Tribe in a place within public view. If in the course of a quarrel took place in the fields the petitioners abused the de facto complainant and his people by using the caste name, the said act by itself in my view does not automatically attract the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989. The manner in which the utterances were made must be with an intention to humiliate or intimidate the persons belonging to Schedule Caste or Schedule Tribe. Further, the utterances cannot be said to be made in a place within public view. Thus, in the opinion of this Court, the incident allegedly mentioned in the complaint is inherently improbable. Further more, even if the entire incident is considered to be true, it does not attract the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989.

HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE R.KANTHA RAO      

CRIMINAL PETITION NO.118 OF 2011    

18-02-2014

Parsa Somaiah and others.Petitioners/A1 to A3                                

State of Andhra Pradesh, Represented by Public Prosecutor, High Court,
Hyderabad and another.. Respondents/Defendants  

Counsel for the Petitioners: Sri K.Srinivasa Reddy

Counsel for Respondent No.1: Addl.Public Prosecutor, High Court
                             of A.P., Hyderabad
Counsel for Respondent No.2:  Sri Mohd. Saleem.


<Gist :

>Head Note:

? Cases referred:

THE HONBLE SRI JUSTICE R.KANTHA RAO        

CRIMINAL PETITION NO.118 OF 2011    

ORDER:

        Heard the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners and the
learned Additional Public Prosecutor representing the State.  There is no
representation for the second respondent/de facto complainant.
        This Criminal Petition is filed under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., seeking
to quash the investigation in Crime No.279 of 2010 of Khanapuram Police
Station, Khammam Urban.  
        The brief facts necessary for considering the Criminal Petition are that
the petitioners/A1 to A3 filed a suit in O.S.No.305 of 2010 on the file of the
Senior Civil Judge, Khammam for declaration of title and injunction in
respect of an extent of 0-16 guntas of land in Sy.No.335 situated in
Gollagudem village of Khammam District against the de facto complainant.
The said suit is pending adjudication before the Senior Civil Judge,
Khammam and the de facto complainant is contesting the case by appointing
a counsel.
        While so, the de facto complainant filed a private complaint before the
II Additional Judicial Magistrate of First Class at Khammam, alleging that
on 7-9-2010 at about 1530 hours, while the de facto complainant and his
people were conducting agricultural operations in the land, the petitioners
(A1 to A3) came there with a tractor driven by one Parsa Ramanjaneyulu
and tried to plough the land.  When the de facto complainant obstructed, the
petitioners abused him and his people in the name of their caste and
threatened them with dire consequences.
        The said case was forwarded by the Magistrate to the police under
Section156(3) of Cr.P.C., for investigation.  Basing on the said complaint, a
case in Crime No. 279 of 2010 came to be registered in Khanapuram Police
Station, Khammam Urban.  The present Criminal Petition is filed to quash
the investigation in the said crime.
        In the instant case admittedly, a civil suit in respect of the land has
been pending between the de facto complainant and petitioners and the
utterances in the name of caste were allegedly made by the petitioners in
connection with the land dispute.  Whenever there is a dispute between the
parties in relation to the property and a complaint has been made alleging
commission of offence under Section 3(1)(x) of the Schedule
Caste/Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Court is
under a duty to scrutinize the allegations with great care and circumspection.
The reason is; there is every possibility for the accused being implicated in
the case on account of civil dispute.
        If the Court upon examining the allegations mentioned in the First
Information Report/complaint, arrives at the opinion that the allegations
made are inherently improbable and if the said allegation prima facie
appears to have been made on account of the property dispute between the
parties, it has to be extremely cautious before accepting the allegations at
their face value.
        In the instant case, the utterances which were said to be made clearly
indicates that on account of property dispute, the complainant has bent upon
involving the petitioners in an offence, which is punishable under the
provisions of SC/ST (POA) Act.  Even from the allegations mentioned in the
First Information Report, the petitioners did not assault the de facto
complainant and his people.  It is only stated in the complaint that they
abused the de facto complainant and his people in the name of their caste..
        To attract the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Mens rea is the essential ingredient.
The utterances made in the name of caste should be with an intention to
humiliate or intimidate the persons belonging to Schedule Caste or Schedule
Tribe in a place within public view.  If in the course of a quarrel took place
in the fields  the petitioners abused the de facto complainant and his people
by using the caste name, the said act by itself in my view does not
automatically attract the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the
SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989.  The manner in which the utterances were made  
must be with an intention to humiliate or intimidate the persons belonging to
Schedule Caste or Schedule Tribe.
        From the facts of the present case, it is highly difficult to gather such
an intention on the part of the petitioners.  Further, the utterances cannot be
said to be made in a place within public view.  Thus, in the opinion of this
Court, the incident allegedly mentioned in the complaint is inherently
improbable.  Further more, even if the entire incident is considered to be
true, it does not attract the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(x) of the
SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989.  If the investigation is allowed to continue in a case
of this nature, it is nothing but abuse of process of law and ultimately it
would result in miscarriage of justice.  This is a fit case where the
investigation can be quashed by invoking the powers under Section 482 of
Cr.P.C.
        Accordingly, the Criminal Petition is allowed and the investigation in
Crime No.279 of 2010 of Khanapuram Police Station, Khammam Urban is  
quashed.  Consequently, the Miscellaneous Petitions pending if any shall
stand closed.
_________________  
R.KANTHA RAO,J  
Date: 18-02-2014

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