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Supreme Court: No Immediate Arrest in a Case under SC, ST Law

Published on 21 Mar 2018 by Shivi

Supreme Court of India

Image Credit: NewsBharati

To prevent the misuse of laws that aim to prevent atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the Supreme Court has announced that there cannot be an immediate arrest under a case registered.

The apex court recognised the continuous misuse of the laws under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and said that any person accused under the Act is entitled to anticipatory bail.

A government employee in Maharashtra filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against the decision of Bombay High Court in which it refused to quash the FIR filed against his hostile remarks against a Scheduled Caste employee. In its decision, the top court said that the police cannot arrest a person based on a complaint.

The bench comprising of Justice A.K. Goel and Justice U.U. Lalit observed that there is a need to protect the innocent citizens against false implications and unwanted arrests. The bench also stated that an arrest is not compulsory in a case filed under the SC/ ST Act.

In case of arrest of a public servant, written permission of the appointing authority will be mandatory, and in other cases, written permission of the Senior Superintendent of Police or DSP will be required.

The court expressed that there have been recorded instances of abuse of the law against political opponents in elections for Panchayats, Municipal bodies, property disputes, debt recovery disputes, employment disputes, etc.

The Atrocities Act cannot be misused to blackmail someone or seek personal revenge in the name of law. The bench added that the law should promote constitutional values of fraternity and integration of the society and not result in perpetuating casteism which would have an adverse impact on the integration of social and constitutional values.

The court stated that the police will have to conduct a preliminary investigation, which must not exceed 1 week and arrive at the decision of whether the FIR should be registered or not.

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