Karnataka HC denounces misuse of SC/ST Act, IPC clogging justice delivery system

01:56 PM Aug 08, 2023 | PTI |

Calling it a classic example of misuse of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Karnataka High Court has quashed a case filed against two brothers who are in their fifties over a property dispute. The court said false cases under the SC/ST Act and Indian Penal Code (IPC) are clogging the criminal justice system. ”This case would form a classic illustration of misuse of the provisions of the Act and the penal provisions under the IPC. It is such cases which clog the criminal justice system and consume considerable time of the Courts, be it the Magistrates Court, Court of Session or this Court, while genuine cases where litigants have actually suffered would be waiting in the pipeline,” it said. ”On the entire gamut of consideration made hereinabove, what would unmistakably emerge is misuse and abuse of the provisions of the Act. This case forms a classic illustration of scores and scores of cases where the provisions of the Act are misused for ulterior motives or pressurise the accused in collateral proceedings,” Justice M Nagaprasanna said in a recent judgement on a petition filed by Rasik Lal Patel and Purushothama Patel.


The father of the petitioners, K J Patel, had purchased the property from one Krishnamurthy over 50 years ago. Krishnamurthy’s son Purushotham has been fighting a civil case over the property against the brothers.

In 2018, he registered a complaint against them and they were booked under the SC/ST Atrocities Act and the IPC. They challenged it before the HC.

The counsel for the brothers argued before the HC that the petitioners have been in possession of the property for the last 50 years and that the family of the complainant is completely aware of all these factors.

”The matter which is purely civil in nature is sought to be given a colour of crime, as the complainant himself is before the civil court seeking partition of the very properties and the petitioners are before the civil court seeking injunction against the complainant,” she said.


Pointing that the civil case has been given a criminal colour, Justice Nagaprasanna said: ”If the impugned crime is not a case where a civil proceeding is dressed with a colour of crime, I fail to understand what else it can be.” The HC said the criminal case cannot be allowed to continue. ”None of the offences either under the IPC or under the Act are present even on their foundational basis, let alone building a castle on such a foundation. In the teeth of aforesaid facts, if further proceedings are permitted to continue, it would be putting a premium on the abuse of the process of law by the complainant in a manner which on the face of it is civil in nature.” Purushotham had claimed that fake documents had been used in the property transaction that took place 50 years ago. The HC dismissed this contention stating that they have been in public domain for 50 years and were never challenged.

Allowing the petition and quashing the criminal case against the brothers, the HC said: ”Therefore, such cases, which on the face of it is an abuse of the process of the law, are necessarily required to be nipped, failing which, it would be a heavy burden on the criminal justice system, apart from it becoming a harassment to the petitioners and ultimately resulting in miscarriage of justice.”


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