Thursday, July 28, 2011

Can anticipatory bail be granted in atrocity cases?

Ahmedabad: A division bench of the Gujarat high court (HC) is to decide whether anticipatory bail can be granted to a person who is accused of humiliating people belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) by either uttering cuss words against them or by threatening them.
The question as to whether the courts should entertain anticipatory bail applications in connection with the violation of Schedule Caste & Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act arose after four persons sought relief after an FIR was registered against them at the Shahpur police station. Their counsel cited three judgments of single-judge bench of this court including Harivallabh Parikh versus State of Gujarat of 1997, in which the court had in the past protected the accused from being arrested.
The petitioners’ lawyer also argued that giving anticipatory bail for violation of section 3(1)(10) of the Act is not completely barred. However, during the proceedings, Justice A S Dave referred to Section 18 of the Atrocity Prevention Act which puts ban on exercising the provisions of law in granting anticipatory bail in such cases. The HC cited a full bench’s decision of the Rajasthan HC and later an order by the Supreme Court, wherein they have held that the provision in special law should prevail over general law.
Justice Dave observed that the remedy for the case of false, frivolous or vexatious complaint under the atrocity act is to get the FIR quashed under section 482 of CrPC by filing a quashing petition in the HC. But when a special statute is enacted for the protection of SC and ST with historical background to remove, curtail and extinguish the practice of “untouchability” and considering object and reasons of special statute and specific bar imposed by Section 18 of the Act, the law laid down by this court in Harivallabh Parikh’s case is contrary to the decisions of other courts’ orders.
Justice Dave referred the case to a full bench with specific reference that whether anticipatory bail can be granted in such cases. The chief justice has asked a division bench headed by Justice AL Dave to settle the issue.

No comments:

Post a Comment