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The powers under Article 142 or under Section 482 Cr.P.C., are exercisable in post­conviction matters only where an appeal  is pending before one or the other Judicial forum. Supreme Court

It cannot be understated that since members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe belong to the weaker sections of our country, they are more prone to acts of coercion,   and   therefore   ought   to   be   accorded   a   higher   level   of protection as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court through the learned bench led by Justice Surya Kant in the case of Ramawatar v. State of Madhya Pradesh (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1393 OF 2011)

The brief facts of the case are that a civil dispute over the ownership and possessory rights of a piece of land between the Appellant and his neighbour Prembai took an ugly turn when the Appellant allegedly not only threw a brick on the Complainant but also made filthy and slur remarks on her caste, which prompted the Complainant to lodge FIR No. 18/94 at Police  Station O.E. Panna under Section 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 .   The Appellant and his co­accused were subsequently tried, which led to the Appellant’s conviction under Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST Act and consequential sentence of six months rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs. 1000/­. The Appellant challenged his conviction and sentence before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur Bench but his appeal  was dismissed vide the impugned judgment dated 02.08.2010.

The Supreme Court held, “Having considered the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case in light of the afore­stated principles, as well as having meditated on the application for compromise, we are inclined to invoke the   powers   under   Article   142   and   quash   the   instant   Criminal proceedings with the sole objective of doing complete justice between the parties before us. Keeping in mind the socio­economic status of the Appellant, we are of the opinion that the overriding objective of the SC/ST Act would not be overwhelmed if the present proceedings are quashed. The Complainant has, on her own free will, without any compulsion,   entered   into   a   compromise  and   wishes   to   drop   the present criminal proceedings against the accused. Consequently, and for the aforementioned reasons, we find it appropriate to invoke our powers under Article 142 of the Constitution and quash the criminal proceedings to do complete justice between the parties.”

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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