SC/ST ACT: Man accused of making casteist remarks acquitted

A city court has asked police to be "very circumspect" in the initiation of proceedings under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as false complaints may be "counterproductive to the delicate balance of communal harmony in the country". Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri acquitted a man accused of "making casteist remarks" against his neighbour's family.

Noting that there were contradictions in the statements by the complainant A K Maurya, his wife and daughter, the court held that the prosecution had been unable to prove the allegations against Alaknanda resident Kirti Gyanchandani. "No offence as alleged is made out against the accused," the judge said.

A K Maurya had approached the National Commission for Scheduled Castes in 2008 after the police had dismissed his complaint against Gyanchandani in October 2007. Maurya alleged that Gyanchandani abused his wife and daughter in front of MCD officials and policemen, who had come to demolish their illegally constructed balcony.

Maurya had told the Commission that Gyanchandani's family had called them "scheduled caste" and used casteist remarks against his wife and daughter, and the police had refused to register an FIR.

The FIR was registered in 2008 after Maurya approached the commissioner of police and the SC/ST Commission.

However, the court found that the police and MCD officials examined as witnesses in the case did not notice any altercation between the Gyanchandani and Maurya families and Maurya's statement differed from those given by his wife and daughter.

"There are contradictions in the statements given by the complainant, his wife and daughter... It is not proved on record that the accused had uttered any remarks against the complainant or his family members, as is the case of the prosecution," ASJ Shastri said.

The court also observed that the ACP of the District Investigation Unit had looked into the complaint in 2007 and submitted a report. The joint commissioner of police had also looked into the complaint before it was given to the IO after the Commission had intervened.

... contd.

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