Karnataka HC Directs For Recovery Of Money In False Harassment Case Under SC And ST Provisions

Title: Shivalingappa B. Kerakalamatti v. State of Karnataka


Decided on: 23th September, 2023

CORAM: Hon’ble Justice M. Nagaprasanna 

Facts of the Case

The headmaster of Maradi Malleshwara School in Hunagund Taluk, Bagalkot District, is the petitioner. The complainant, a teacher employed by the petitioner, is the second respondent. Claiming to have committed a number of commissions and omissions, the complainant was allegedly fired on May 12, 2012. The matter is then closed before this Court when he seeks the appropriate judicial forums. The complainant’s reinstatement with back pay had been ordered by this court. It is said that the HeadMaster, in spite of this Court’s judgement, wanted <10,000,000/-for reinstatement. The complainant filed Crime No. 69 of 2020 in response to the aforementioned demand.

The complainant was travelling to work on his motorbike. At that point, the petitioner and two other people are accused of stopping the complainant, abusing him by calling him by his caste, and attacking him with a cycle chain. In light of this incident, a complaint is filed with the Bagalkot Rural Police Station for offences covered by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015’s Sections 3(1)(s), 3(1)(r), and 3(2)(va) as well as the IPC’s Sections 341, 323, 324, 307, 504, 506, and 34. 

Courts analysis and decision

The Court observed that when an accused person appears before the court claiming to have the FIR or criminal proceedings quashed primarily on the grounds that they are vexatious, frivolous, or were started with the intention of exacting revenge, the court has an obligation to carefully and more closely review the FIR in these situations. This can be done by using either the inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) or the extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Further stated, “The Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC or Article 226 of the Constitution need not restrict itself only to the stage of a case but is empowered to take into account the overall circumstances leading to the initiation/registration of the case as well as the materials collected in the course of investigation.”

It was noted that this very complainant against this very petitioner had registered an identical complaint before the Navanagar Police Station. The offences alleged are the same as alleged in the present case and the style of narration is also the same. The incident alleged also is identical. The witnesses in the case at hand are also the same. Further stating, “Therefore, it can be inferred without a shadow of doubt, that the complainant, is a habitual complainant and has stock witnesses with him to depose on all the complaints that he registers. If this cannot be construed as an abuse of the process of law or misuse of the provisions of the Act, I fail to understand what else can be.”

The Court further observed in shock that the complainant files a complaint against the petitioner, contacts the Social Welfare Agency, and requests funding to pursue the legal action. The Social Welfare Department has granted the complainant legal aid of `3,50,000/-for the three crimes he has filed against the petitioner, all of which were committed within a year and for the same acts. This is funded entirely by public funds and is intended to assist in the registration of baseless lawsuits or baseless lawsuits being prosecuted by the government.

The Deputy Commissioner’s office in Bagalkot notified the Social Welfare Department and the Police Inspector in Bagalkot that the crime reported in the present cae has been deemed trivial, and the court directed for the recovery of money from the complainant which he requested to register the said crime.

The order states that the Deputy Director of the Social Welfare Department must retrieve the money that was paid with public funds since it was improperly used. The State also has a responsibility to protect public funds and the public interest, and only deserving individuals should receive legal aid or compensation.

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Written by- Aashi Narayan

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