New Delhi: Observing that there is large-scale misuse of the law, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that arrest of an accused is not mandatory under the provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and accused are entitled for anticipatory bail.
A Bench of justices Adarsh K. Goel and Uday U. Lalit gave this ruling on an appeal from Maharashtra government employee Dr. Subash Mahajan challenging a Bombay High Court verdict refusing to quash the FIR for his adverse remarks against an SC employee.
The court held that there is a need to provide for safeguards against registration of FIRs and arrests under the SC/ST Act in view of instances of misuse, as observed in the last three decades.
The Bench pointed out that this Act was enacted to protect the underprivileged against any atrocities. At the same time, the said Act cannot be converted into a charter for exploitation by any unscrupulous person or by police for extraneous reasons against other citizens. The Bench said the Act should promote constitutional values of fraternity and integration of the society and not result in perpetuating casteism which would have an adverse impact on integration of society.