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Persons belonging to the Scheduled Caste category cannot be prosecuted for the offence under the Act: Patna High Court

A person who belongs to the Scheduled Caste category cannot be booked with charges prescribed under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. A single bench comprising of Justice Ashwini Kumar Singh in adjudicating the matter in Nande Paswan & others v. State of Bihar (CRIMINAL APPEAL (SJ) No.1932 of 2021 ) dealt with the issue of granting pre-arrest bail to the appellant and setting aside the previous order of the learned Special Judge.

The Appellants in the present case present an appeal u/s 14-A(2) under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 challenging the order dated 30.01.2021 passed in ABP No.211 of 2021 by the learned Special Judge, SC/ST Act, Biharsharif, Nalanda rejecting their prayer for grant of pre-arrest bail.

As per the FIR, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Appellants contended that no offense under the Act is attracted against the Appellants as they belong to the scheduled caste category. The FIR Iis based on the Report of Rahul Kumar and is submitted to the Officer-in-charge stating that he heard some noise that his father was intercepted by the Appellants near the orchard of Kashi Yadav and they were abusing and assaulting him. He also stated that one of the Appellant fired from the Respective pistols that hit his father due to which he fell down and the motive for this act is derived from an occurrence in the land dispute. Owing to the FIR, the police charged the appellants for offenses punishable under Sections 341, 323, 307, 504 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 27 of the Arms Act, and Section 3(1)(r) of the Act.

After completion of the investigation, Gorakh Paswan was sent for trial, and others were found innocent. The Learned Special Judge differing from the Police report took cognizance of the offenses against the appellants for offenses u/s- 341, 323, 307, 504 read along with 34 of the Indian Penal Code and section 27 of the Arms Act.

The court observed that there was no undertaking of an overt act in the FIR and the appellants were also found innocent in the investigation process. Also, it was held that” The order by which cognizance has been taken against the appellants for the offenses punishable under the penal code and Arms Act does not show the material on which the learned court below has relied upon for differing with the police report. It has rightly been submitted on behalf of the appellants that since they themselves belong to the Scheduled Caste category, they cannot be prosecuted for the offense under the Act.”

The Court under such circumstances granted a pre-arrest bail and set aside the order dated 30.01.2021 passed by the learned Special Judge, SC/ST Act, Biharsharif, Nalanda.

Click here for the Judgement

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