Monday, August 1, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Can anticipatory bail be granted in atrocity cases?

Can anticipatory bail be granted in atrocity cases?
TNN Jul 29, 2011, 12.18am IST

AHMEDABAD: A division bench of the Gujarat high court (HC) is to
decide whether anticipatory bail can be granted to a person who is
accused of humiliating people belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC)
and Scheduled Tribe (ST) by either uttering cuss words against them or
by threatening them.

The question as to whether the courts should entertain anticipatory
bail applications in connection with the violation of Schedule Caste &
Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act arose after four persons
sought relief after an FIR was registered against them at the Shahpur
police station. Their counsel cited three judgments of single-judge
bench of this court including Harivallabh Parikh versus State of
Gujarat of 1997, in which the court had in the past protected the
accused from being arrested.

The petitioners' lawyer also argued that giving anticipatory bail for
violation of section 3(1)(10) of the Act is not completely barred.
However, during the proceedings, Justice A S Dave referred to Section
18 of the Atrocity Prevention Act which puts ban on exercising the
provisions of law in granting anticipatory bail in such cases. The HC
cited a full bench's decision of the Rajasthan HC and later an order
by the Supreme Court, wherein they have held that the provision in
special law should prevail over general law.

Justice Dave observed that the remedy for the case of false, frivolous
or vexatious complaint under the atrocity act is to get the FIR
quashed under section 482 of CrPC by filing a quashing petition in the
HC. But when a special statute is enacted for the protection of SC and
ST with historical background to remove, curtail and extinguish the
practice of "untouchability" and considering object and reasons of
special statute and specific bar imposed by Section 18 of the Act, the
law laid down by this court in Harivallabh Parikh's case is contrary
to the decisions of other courts' orders.

Justice Dave referred the case to a full bench with specific reference
that whether anticipatory bail can be granted in such cases. The chief
justice has asked a division bench headed by Justice A L Dave to
settle the issue.

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