The accused’s intention is an essential factor for conviction in SC/ST atrocities cases: Supreme Court

Case title: Dashrath Sahu Vs State Of Chattisgarh

Case no.: SLP(Crl.) No(s). 6367 of 2023

Decided on: 29.01.2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice B.R Gavai, Hon’ble Justice Sandeep Mehta, Hon’ble Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra.



The appellant was convicted of offences punishable under Sections 451, 354 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and Section 3(1)(xi) of the SC/ST Act. He received a one-year sentence of simple imprisonment and a fine.

The appellant filed a challenge to the said judgement in the High Court of Chhattisgarh. During the course of the appeal, the accused appellant and the prosecutrix/complainant appear to have reached an amicable settlement. The High Court accepted the compromise application for the offences punishable under Sections 354 and 451 IPC and acquitted the accused, but rejected it for the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(xi) of the SC/ST Act, stating that it is not compoundable and the minimum sentence is six months. As a result, the accused appellant’s sentence of simple imprisonment for one year on that count was reduced to six months.

The appellant filed the present appeal after being dissatisfied with the order dated March 21, 2023.


whether the rejection of the application under Section 320 CrPC and the appellant’s conviction for the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(xi) of the SC/ST Act were legitimate and justified?


Section 3(1)(xi) of the SC/ST Act of 1989 addresses punishments for atrocities of assault or the use of force with the intent to dishonour or outrage the modesty of any SC/ST women.


The court ruled that the section, taken literally, makes it quite evident that the offence of outraging modesty has to be committed with the knowledge or intent that the victim was a member of the Scheduled Caste.

According to the FIR and the prosecutrix’s sworn testimony, the accused did not commit the offending act with the intention of doing so against a Scheduled Caste member.

The court cited the case of Masumsha Hasanasha Musalman Vs. State of Maharashtra, in which the court ruled that the language of Section 3(1)(xi) of the SC/ST Act is pari materia because it also states that the offence must be committed against a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe with the intent that it was done on the basis of caste.

As a result, the accused appellant’s conviction for the offence under Section 3(1)(xi) of the SC/ST Act, which was recorded by the trial Court and upheld by the High Court, is set aside and quashed.


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Written by – Surya Venkata Sujith 


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