The Bombay High Court has observed that the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is not abused in every case. The observations come days after the Supreme Court observed that there were instances of abuse of the Act and laid down stringent guidelines.
The Bombay HC while hearing a criminal appeal observed that it cannot proceed on the footing that the Act is abused in every case. A bench comprising Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice P D Naik was hearing a petition by Akash Kadave, who allegedly assaulted and hurled casteist abuses at the complainant belonging to Hindu Mahar community.
Complaints were filed by both sides and Kadave was charged under the SC/ST Act.
The sessions court while rejecting Kadave's anticipatory bail plea said that this was not a case where bar under Section 18 would have been overcome by the appellant. Following this, Kadave moved the HC in appeal.
The HC while rejecting his plea held that it could not proceed on the ground that the law is abused in every case. The law is found to be valid and constitutional, the court also held.
When Kadave's counsel referred to the SC judgment, the HC said, "We see no merit in the appeal nor in the argument and the attempt made before us by relying on the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and delivered on 20 March 2018."
The bench said the Supreme Court judgment was "Essentially determining the controversy as to whether the whole enactment can be used to settle scores against the superiors in public service or working privately".