The Karnataka High Court has held that for an offense under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, casteist abuse must take place in a public place. The court quashed the pending case against a person as it found that the alleged misbehavior was committed in the basement of a building, where only the victim and her co-workers were present.
In the alleged incident that took place in the year 2020, Ritesh Payas hurled casteist abuses at Mohan in the basement of a building where he used to work along with others. All the personnel were hired by the building owner Jayakumar R Nair. Justice M Nagaprasanna, in his judgment on June 10, said, “A reading of the above statements would reveal two factors- one is that the basement of the building was not a public place and second, other persons who claim to be present there were merely The complainant and Jayakumar R. There were other employees of Nair or friends of the complainant.
“Clearly, there was no abusing in a public place or in public which is not available to enforce the Act in the present case,” the court said. Apart from this, there were other factors in the case, the court said. The accused Ritesh Payas had a dispute with the owner of the building, Jayakumar Nair and had taken an adjournment against the construction of the building. The court concluded that Nair was firing at Payas “with a gun on the shoulder of his employee (Mohan).”
The court said that the issue of dispute between the two cannot be dismissed as it shows a clear link in the chain of events. Therefore, the registration of the crime itself suffers from lack of authenticity. Apart from the Atrocities Act, where the case is pending in the Sessions Court in Mangaluru, Payas has also been charged under Section 323 (causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The High Court also dismissed these charges saying Given that, ‘injury must have been caused in the wrangling for an offense punishable under section 323 of the IPC’.
The High Court, in its judgment, observed that in this case, however, Mohan’s ‘wound certificate shows a simple scratch mark on the forearm of the hand and another bruise on the chest’. There is no sign of bleeding. Therefore, simple scratch marks cannot be an offense under section 323 of IPC.’