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Case Reviews, The Law

K. Padma Reddy V. Station House Officer and others 2003 (5) ALD 345

Mere abusing someone on the basis of caste in a private place does not amount to offence under Section 3(1)(x) of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

By: Himanshi Jain, Final Year LL.B. Student at Balaji Law College, Pune.

Facts of the Case:

  • The petitioner claims to be the President of the Community Development Society of Bellampalli Municipality, Adilabad District which was established in the year 1998, as part of a Central Government sponsored Scheme.
  • The petitioner was preparing a list for selection of certain Groups for implementation of the Mid-day Meal scheme and when the list of selected groups was about to be typed, the 3rd respondent entered the Chambers of the Chair-person in an intoxicated state and abused her and also prevented her from preparing the list.
  • She immediately called the police and the 3rd respondent was sent for medical examination which revealed that he was in an intoxicated condition.
  • The 3rd respondent submitted a complaint the next day alleging that the petitioner had abused him in the name of Caste and thereby committed an offense under Section 3(1)(x) of Schedule Cast and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
  • A counter-affidavit is filed on behalf of the respondents 1 and 2
  • The 3rd respondent also filed his counter-affidavit stating that the matter has been settled between him and the petitioner.
  • Although a counter-affidavit was filled by respondent 3, the complaint was made under Section 3(1)(x) of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which is non- compoundable, thus the adjudication of the matter does not depend on the version presented by the 3rd respondent; irrespective of the justification thereof.

Issues:

  • Does insulting a member of Schedule Cast or Schedule Tribe in personal chamber amount to humiliation under S. 3(1)(x) of The Schedule Cast and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989?

Rules:

  • Section 3(1)(x) of Schedule Cast and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

Judgment:

The Court held that mere utterances in the name of Caste would not attract the provisions of Section 3(1)(x) of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989; unless these utterances were made at any place that comes within public view.

The utterances were made within the Chambers of the Municipal Commissioner, which does not come under the purview of public view. 

The Court also stated that every utterance which comes within the purview of this provision by itself is not an offence unless it is made in any place within public view.

Conclusion:

Mere abusing someone on the basis of caste in a private place does not amount to offence under Section 3(1)(x) of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

When you are abusing someone in a place where there is no other person, i.e. a private place, the image of that person is not getting defamed as no one saw or heard what happened. Section 3(1)(x) of the said Act won’t come into the picture because of the absence of ‘public view’.

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