'SC/ST Act can't be invoked if victim not abused in public'
New Delhi: One cannot be prosecuted for hurling casteist abuses at a person from scheduled caste or tribe unless it is proved that the incident took place in "full public view," a Delhi court has said.
Additional Sessions Judge Rajnish Bhatnagar made the observation, referring to a provision of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and discharging three members of a family of charges under the Act.
"From the bare reading of this section, it is apparent that the alleged abuses must have been given by the accused to the complainant in full 'public view'. In order to bring home the point that this ingredient is not fulfilled even if the allegations are found to be correct though the abuses have not been given in full public view," the court said.
It, however, clarified the accused, which included man, his wife and their son, be tried by a magisterial court under the IPC for allegedly hurting the complainant and wrongfully restraining him.
Initially, the accused were also charged for insulting and humiliating a member of scheduled caste member in violation of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
"From the statement of complainant, it appears that when the incident took place, the complainant and only accused party were present at the spot and what transpired between them has not been alleged to have taken place within full public view.
"So in these facts and circumstances, it cannot be said that all the ingredients of...The Act are fulfilled in the instant case," the judge said.