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Fake cases under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act abuse of the process of law, clogging judicial system: Karnataka HC

The case in question pertains to a property dispute between two neighbours whose allegedly disputed properties are adjacent to each other.

While quashing the criminal prosecution under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against two brothers, the Karnataka High Court strongly criticised the misuse of legal provisions of the act. The court categorically highlighted that on account of false cases under the SC/ST Act or others, the judicial system gets clogged leaving the genuine petitioners to suffer the ill consequences of it. 

The case in question under the SC/ST act

The case in question pertains to a property dispute between two neighbours whose allegedly disputed properties are adjacent to each other. The fathers of the petitioners and complainant made transactions during their lifetime and the said property had been in the possession of two petitioners for nearly five decades. 

This was later contested by the complainant claiming that the documents of the property were forged. Along with that, the petitioners were facing prosecution under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The petitioners’ neighbour complained to Bengaluru’s Ramamurthy Nagar police station immediately after the police had filed a chargesheet against him for house trespassing and continuous harassment. The earlier complaint to the police was made by the two petitioners. 

Subsequently, petitioners Purushotham and Rasik Lal Patel challenged these proceedings initiated against them. They highlighted that apart from various sections of the IPC, they were framed under various provisions of SC/ST acts as well. 

According to the petitioners, later the court found these submissions to be true, all the transactions had happened between the father of the complainant and the father of the petitioners during their lifetime. Further, they had had the subject property for the last 50 years. Their properties and properties which came under the share of the complainant’s father are adjacent to each other. 

The petitioners asserted that the matter is purely civil but has been given a colour of crime.

Strong observations of the court on misuse of the act and abuse of process of law

The single-judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna observed that the present case is a classic example of “an abuse of the process of law” and misuse of provisions of the SC/ST act. 

He said, “This case would form a classic illustration of misuse of the provisions of the Act and the penal provisions under the IPC. It is such cases which clog the criminal justice system and consume the considerable time of the Courts, be it the Magistrates Court, Court of Session or this Court, while genuine cases where litigants have suffered would be waiting in the pipeline.”

Justice Nagaprasanna pointed out that the complainant had admitted that the subject properties were jointly acquired by V.Muniyappa and his father. Later, they were sold to the father of the petitioners on different dates by three sale deeds. However, the complainant claimed that he is not aware of the execution of sale deeds as he was not a party to them. The court added that the moment the charge sheet was filed against the complainant, the impugned complaint springs up alleging several offences. 

The court elaborated reasons on why the case was not made out on any of the sections of IPC or provisions of the SC/ST act, the court stated that this arouse only for vengeance against the petitioners and is only a counterblast to what has been stated above. 

The court added there are multiple instances of abuse of process of law in the present case. 

The court said, “It is not one but there are several hues of abuses of the process of law in the case at hand. Knowing fully well that the father of the complainant had sold the properties to the petitioners or the father of the petitioners, the crime comes to be registered contending that he is not aware of the same and, therefore, the documents are forged. All of them are registered public documents under which the petitioners or their fathers have had the properties for the last 50 years. It is un-understandable as to how a crime could be registered on the aforesaid facts.”

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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