The Supreme Court of India on March 20, 2018 issued major directions to prevent misuse of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in opposition to the officers who deal with the complaints under the Act in their official capacity.
The court took note of the rampant misuse of the stringent Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act against government servants and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law. The ruling was made by a two-judge bench comprising Justice AK Goel and Justice U U Lalit.
Key Directions by the Court
The court stated that a preliminary probe by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent must be undertaken before arresting a public servant under the SC/ST Act, in order to avoid false cases.
The bench of Justices also said that there shall be no absolute bar for granting anticipatory bail to public servants booked under the stringent provisions of the law.
The bench said a public servant can be arrested in cases lodged under SC/ST Act only after prior approval by the competent authority.
The court issued the directions while hearing an appeal lodged by Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan against the Bombay High Court judgment rejecting to cancel the FIR filed against him for offences alleged under the Act.