The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka at Kalaburagi Bench, vide order dated 21.07.2020 held that a victim under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 includes not only the person who sustains injuries arising out of the crime but also his parents and family members.

The order was passed in response to two petitions each filed by Accused No.1 and Accused No.2 under Section 439 of Criminal Procedure Code 1973 seeking interim bail.

The case pertained to a deadly attack on a 14-yr-old boy, whose head was allegedly hit by an Axe by the Petitioners-accused. They were also accused of abusing the boy in filthy language, by mentioning the name of his caste. Therefore, a case was registered against the Petitioners for committing offences under Section143, 147, 148, 323, 307, 504 and 506 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code1860 and Sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s) of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The mother of the said injured boy/ Respondent No.2  (Crl.P.No.200318/2020 ) was impleaded by the Counsel for the Petitioners holding that she was also a victim of the alleged crime being the mother of the victim.

It was submitted by the Petitioner in Crl.P.No.200315/2020 that he had not used any weapon to assault the minor injured and as against him the actions alleged was only that he kicked the injured and abused him in filthy language, thereby not sharing any common intention of the other accused. Also, there was a delay in filing the First Information Statement before the Police showing that the Petitioners and other accused were falsely implicated into the case.

On the other hand, Counsel for the Respondents held that the Petitioners had infact tried to kill the minor boy and hence there would be chances of threatening the injured and his family members and in such an event, a fair trial would not be possible.

After taking note of the present matter, Justice Hanchate Sanjeev Kumar held that it was not possible to presently accept the fact that there was no pre mediation or sharing of common intention between the Petitioners and the other accused and the incident had occurred in spur of the moment. Also, prima facie it was quite clear that a dangerous weapon like axe was used to assault the minor boy, thereby attracting the offence under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The Hon’ble Justice further went on to point out the fact that the Petitioners were fully aware of the caste from which the minor belonged to, and hence by abusing the minor’s caste attracted the offence under 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for which the punishment imposed is for life.

The present petition was therefore dismissed.

The Hon’ble Court in the present order also issued on the following guidelines:

  1. A right is conferred on the victim or his/her dependents to participate in the proceedings initiated under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 as enumerated in Section 15-A, as discussed above. Therefore, the first informant/complainant/victim or dependents shall be made as a party in the proceedings and issue necessary notice to the victim or dependents / first informant/ complainant/ victim or dependents and to hear them in any proceedings as envisaged under Sub-section (5) of Section 15-A of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
  2. The Special Courts trying with the offence/s under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 shall direct the District Legal Services Authority to provide an advocate on behalf of the victim or his/her dependents/ first informant/complainant from the Panel Advocates of District Legal Services Authority.

It was also held as follows, ““victim” means any individual who falls within the definition of the “Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes” under clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 2, and who has suffered or experienced physical, mental, psychological, emotional or monetary harm or harm to his property as a result of the commission of any offence under this Act and includes his relatives, legal guardian and legal heirs”.

The court also refused to make any comments on account of delay in registering the FIR and it held, “There may be various factors in belated lodging of FIR, but this aspect of the delay can be considered during full-fledged trial but not at this stage just because there is a delay that cannot be made a ground to allow the petitions since it is a pure question to be considered on facts during the full-fledged trial, but not at this stage.

Order:kalaburagi bench order