The Delhi High Court, as a reprimand to Delhi police, has directed the trial court to initiate proceedings against police officers who refused to register complaint of a Dalit man alleging abuse and harassment.
The single judge bench of Justice Suresh Kait, while noting that the Dalit man ran from pillar to post to get his complaint registered, directed that action be taken against the police officers, especially the SHO of the police station, Fatehpur Beri under section 4 of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The complaint was from a person belonging to scheduled caste category, Praveen Kumar, who is an international level horse riding champion, against some people belonging to influential families for constantly verbally abusing him and humiliating him in public, using derogatory casteist slurs, intimidating him and hurting his self respect. All such incidents were mentioned in the complaint, the appellant, Praveen Kumar, wished to file. It is also alleged that the offenders had also allegedly planned an acid attack on the appellant.
Despite repeated attempts made by the appellant to get his complaint registered, right from sending emails to the police including the Commissioner of police in Delhi, writing complaints, sending tweets to the PMO; his pleas were unheard. Even his application under section 156(3) of CrPC before the Magistrate was dismissed.
The Court held that SHO of Fatehpur Beri is liable to be prosecuted under Section 4(2)(b) of SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. The court observed that public servants wilfully neglected their duties as per the SC/ST Act. The Court, based on the various evidences produced by the appellant showing that he knocked on various doors of the courts, as well as administration, held that he ran from pillar to post for getting justice.
Further in Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan vs. The State of Maharashtra: [Rev.Pet.(Crl.) No.275/2018 delivered on 01.10.2019], the revised directions of the Supreme Court stated that preliminary inquiry in a case registered under the SC/ST Act should be completed within 7 days and in this case it was completed after 59 days.
Further, the court also observed that there was no embargo that would justify the non-registration of the FIR by the police, at least for the charges that do not come under the SC/ST Act, such as the apprehension of an acid attack on the appellant. Hence, the court directed the Trial court to initiate proceedings against the then SHO of Fatehpur Beri but also simultaneously directed that no coercive steps be taken against the accused in the case.
The incident has taken place in 2018 and after about two years, the doors of justice have only just opened for the aggrieved person belonging to Scheduled Caste. The journey towards final justice is still a long one. This not only paints a poor picture on how cases against Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are treated by the police and how despite of having a law on paper, people are unable to get justice through the same.
The complete judgment can be read here.
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