Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan vs The State Of Maharashtra - Supreme Court Important Judgment

 Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan vs The State Of Maharashtra - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2018 - 

On 20th March, 2018, in the case of Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. The State Of Maharashtra and Anr. [Criminal Appeal No.416 of 2018], the question for consideration was whether any unilateral allegation of mala fide can be ground to prosecute officers under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (the Atrocities Act) who dealt with a matter in official capacity and if such allegation is falsely made what is the protection available against such abuse. Procedural safeguards were examined so that provisions of the Atrocities Act are not abused for extraneous considerations.

It was held that “the under privileged need to be protected against any atrocities to give effect to the Constitutional ideals. The Atrocities Act has been enacted with this objective. At the same time, the said Act cannot be converted into a charter for exploitation or oppression by any unscrupulous person or by police for extraneous reasons against other citizens as has been found on several occasions”. “Any harassment of an innocent citizen, irrespective of caste or religion, is against the guarantee of the Constitution. This Court must enforce such a guarantee. Law should not result in caste hatred. The preamble to the Constitution, which is the guiding star for interpretation, incorporates the values of liberty, equality and fraternity.”

The Bench was satisfied, in the light of statistics as well as cited decisions and observations of the Standing Committee of Parliament “that there is need to safeguard innocent citizens against false implication and unnecessary arrest for which there is no sanction under the law which is against the constitutional guarantee and law of arrest laid down by this Court.” The Bench stated that it was “conscious that normal rule is to register FIR if any information discloses commission of a cognizable offence”, however, there are “exceptions to this rule.” It was held that “cases under the Atrocities Act also fall in exceptional category where preliminary inquiry must be held” and further that “even if preliminary inquiry is held and case is registered, arrest is not a must”

Accordingly, it was inter alia held as follows:-

1) “There is no absolute bar against grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act if no prima facie case is made out or where on judicial scrutiny the complaint is found to be prima facie mala fide.”

2) “In view of acknowledged abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Atrocities Act, arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the S.S.P. which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded. Such reasons must be scrutinized by the Magistrate for permitting further detention.”

3) “To avoid false implication of an innocent, a preliminary enquiry may be conducted by the DSP concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the Atrocities Act and that the allegations are not frivolous or motivated.”

4) Any violation of aforesaid directions (2) and (3) “will be actionable by way of disciplinary action as well as contempt.”

It was further held that “the above directions are prospective.”


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