The apex court in India, Supreme Court of India has made an important judgment. A Supreme Court bench headed by Nageswara Rao has made the ruling.
The Supreme Court of India has ruled that a person belonging to a higher caste cannot be deprived of his legal rights merely because he has been accused by a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe (SC / ST).
“Offence under the SC/ST Act is not established merely on the fact that the informant is a member of Scheduled Caste unless there is an intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste”, said the court in the judgment.
The Supreme Court made these remarks while while freeing a man from criminal charges for abusing caste-related abuse to a woman. Both the accused and the complainant woman had filed cases against each other as they had a dispute over a piece of land. The woman has registered a case against the accused under the SC/ST Act.
All insults or intimidations to a person will not be an offence under the Act unless such insult or intimidation is on account of victim belonging to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe,” the judgement reads.
The Supreme Court in its judgment made it clear that that unless an act of harassment has been done due to one’s caste, the accused cannot be prosecuted under the SC / ST Act. The Supreme Court also said that if a person belonging to a higher caste takes any step to protect his rights, it does not mean that the sword of criminal act under the SC / ST Act automatically hangs over him.