Not every offending remark against a member of the Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) will amount to an offence under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 “unless there is an intention to humiliate…for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste”, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi said: “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 bench emphasised that the object of the Act is to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as they are denied a number of civil rights. “Thus, an offence under the Act would be made out when a member of the vulnerable section of the society is subjected to indignities, humiliations and harassment,” added the bench.
The apex court said that it is essential to establish that there is an intention to humiliate the victim because he belongs to such a caste. The bench cited that another key ingredient of the provision, under Section 3 (1) (r), is that the insult or intimidation was done in “any place within public view”.
The judgment came on an appeal against an Uttarakhand High Court order, which dismissed a plea filed by one Hitesh Verma under Section 482 of the CrPC seeking quashing of a chargesheet and summoning order against him for an offence under Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ST Act. An FIR was filed against him for entering the house of the respondent and hurling casteist abuses.
The bench noted that as per the FIR, the allegations of abuse were within the four walls of the building and there was no member of the public (not merely relatives or friends) at the time of the incident in the house.
“Therefore, the basic ingredient that the words were uttered ‘in any place within public view’ is not made out,” said SC. The bench noted that the offence under the 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 a caste.
The apex court quashed the chargesheet to the extent of offence under the special law against petitioner Hemant Verma and others. “In the present case, the parties are litigating over possession of the land. The allegation of hurling abuses is against a person who claims title over the property. If such person happens to be a Scheduled Caste, the offence under Section 3(1)(r) of the Act is not made out,” it said.
The SC observed that the SC/ST Act is intended to punish the acts of the upper caste against the vulnerable sections of the society for the reason that they belong to a particular community.
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Tamil Nadu: Fire breaks out in 3 electronic shops in Madurai
Madurai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 25 (ANI): A fire broke out in 3 electronic shops in Madurai on Wednesday night.
Fire tenders rushed to the spot to douse the fire.
More details awaited. (ANI)
Smartphones, mobile accessories among other items worth more than Rs 18 lakhs seized at Jaipur International airport
Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], February 25 (ANI): The customs authority of Jaipur International Airport (JIA) on Wednesday seized smartphones, mobile accessories among other items worth Rs 18,19,200 approximately.
“Smartphones and mobile accessories worth Rs 17,97,400, foreign currencies with the value of Rs 17,400 approx and Indian currency with the value of Rs 4,400 recovered from the possession of a passenger earlier today at Jaipur International Airport,” customs authority informed.
On February 20, Customs seized 1.5 kilograms of foreign marked gold worth more than Rs 70 lakhs at the Jaipur International Airport.
The customs officials at JIA intercepted Shrawan Kumar (26), who came from Sharjah by flight no. G9 435, and recovered the gold from him in the form of two pieces, weighing approximately 750 grams each As per the customs officials, the gold was concealed in his shoes. (ANI)
Interfaith couple from Gujarat takes shelter in Delhi
By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): A Gujarat-based interfaith couple has taken shelter in Delhi as the national capital has implemented the directions of the Supreme Court in ‘Shakti Vahini versus UOI’ case that relates to providing shelter house to interfaith and inter-caste couples.
The Gujarat-based inter-faith couple, who were in a relationship for the last 10 years, has also moved Gujarat High Court through advocates Utkarsh Singh and Aaksha Sajnani.
Utkarsh Singh, appearing for the petitioner, argued before the Gujarat High Court that due to absence of safe house as directed by the apex court in the judgment in the Shakti Vahini case, the couple have taken refuge in a safe house in Delhi.
After hearing the grievances of the petitioners, a single-judge Bench of Gujarat High Court presided by Justice Vipul M Pancholi issued notice and asked the state government to file a reply.
Government Pleader Manisha Shah assisted by Assistant Government Pleader Aishwarya Gupta with AGP Ronak Raval appeared for the respondents.
Manisha Shah submitted that the respondent will give necessary protection to the petitioner couple till final disposal of the present petition and joint accommodation will also be provided to the petitioner for a period of eight weeks.
Dhanak of Humanity, an organisation of interfaith and inter-caste couples, which is also one of the petitioners in the matter, has urged the court to direct the authorities concerned to grant regular protection to the couple till the final disposal of the plea.
The petitioner has also sought directions to respondents to provide joint accommodation to the couple in safe houses created as per the Supreme Court’s ruling till their marriage is solemnised under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
The petitioner also sought a direction to the Gujarat government for strict compliance with the apex court judgement in the Shakti Vahini case. The Supreme Court had directed various preventive steps, remedial measures, and punitive measures for the protection of victims of “honour killings”.
The lawyer said that the parents of the man and woman were against their relationship and forcing them to marry somewhere else.
The petition in Gujarat High Court said the couple do not want to convert their religion or names for the sake of marriage and want to get married under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
It also said that they have approached authorities for solemnisation of their marriage under the Special Marriage Act in November 2020.
“Unfortunately, when the couple went to purchase and print the affidavits required for the solemnisation of their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, the information about the purchase of stamp paper on his name reached the girl’s father and they had to leave the idea of solemnisation of their marriage,” the petition said.
The lawyer submitted that the information disseminated by the stamp vendor was in total breach of the privacy of the petitioner couple.
The couple had taken refuge in a place here in Delhi on January 22, 2021, with the help of NGO Dhanak of Humanity “due to the extreme danger and threat to their lives and pending forceful marriage”.(ANI)
Telangana would witness more development if the decentralised funds reach local bodies, says Kavitha
Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], February 24 (ANI): Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader and Nizamabad MLC K Kavitha on Wednesday said that Telangana would witness more development if the decentralised funds reach local bodies.
A delegation of members of the Telangana Legislative Council, led by Kavitha met Panchayat Raj Minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao today and sought funds for local bodies.
The delegation will also submit a representation to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
“Enough priority to the local bodies was not given to the locally elected representatives and this is why they were unhappy. The MLCs today have submitted a representation to the Panchayat Raj and the Rural Development Minister. From here, these issues will be taken to the Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrashekhar Rao too,” Kavitha told ANI after the meeting.
“If the decentralisation of funds is done and when the funds reach the local bodies, we can witness even more development in the state. The state is witness development because the funds are being given to the Sarpanchs but there would be even more development at the village level if the priorities were being given to ZPTCs and MPTCs,” she said.
Taking to Twitter, Kavitha tweeted: “In order to represent the interests and concerns of local body representatives, we as a delegation of local bodies representatives met Minister Sri Dayakar Rao.” (ANI)
‘Modi will soon be ‘former PM’ like Atal ji’: Bhupesh Baghel on Motera stadium renaming
Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], February 24 (ANI): Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday said the renaming of Motera stadium reflects a tradition followed by BJP, which had done something similar during the tenure of late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“It’s BJP’s tradition. When Atal ji was alive, Atal Chowk was named after him. He was no more the PM but Atal Chowk was named after him in Chhattisgarh. It’s a sign that Modi ji will soon be a former (PM) like him,” Baghel said while addressing a press conference about the state budget here.
Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the newly-built Motera Stadium which was renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium ahead of the pink-ball Test between India and England. The stadium is the biggest cricket stadium in the world as it has a total capacity of 1,32,000.
Congress and other opposition leaders had criticised the BJP for renaming the stadium, which was earlier named after Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
BJP had hit back at the criticism and said that institutions and buildings have been named after leaders of the Gandhi-Nehru family.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters here, Chief Minister Baghel said the size of the state budget 2020-2021 was Rs 95,650 crores.
“The size of the main budget of 2020-21 was Rs 95,650 crores. The first supplementary size was Rs 3,807 crores, the second supplementary budget is 2,387 crores and the size of the third supplementary is 505 crores, the total size of the first second and third has been 1 lakh 2349 crores,” he said. (ANI)
Smriti Irani, Giriraj Singh slam Rahul on repeat gaffe over Fisheries Ministry
New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s repeat “gaffe” about the need for the creation of Fisheries Ministry drew sharp criticism from union ministers including Smriti Irani and Giriraj, Singh who accused him of peddling lies.
During an interaction with the fishing community in Kollam in Kerala on Wednesday, Gandhi made a veiled attack at the Central government saying no one speaks for fishermen in Delhi.
“Just like our farmers farm the land, you farm the sea. Farmers have a Ministry in Delhi, you don’t. No one speaks for you in Delhi. The first thing I would do is to have a ministry dedicated to the fishermen of India so that your issues can be defended and protected,” he said.
Gandhi had made a gaffe earlier this month at a meeting in Puducherry and demanded the setting up of a separate ministry for fisheries. The BJP leaders had then slammed his remarks.
While BJP leaders slammed Gandhi over his latest remarks, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge defended him.
Union Minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said that Wayanad MP’s “spiteful, vile politics is based on lies”.
“The fact that Rahul Gandhi sustains on a lie was evident when he again promised the people in Kerala, a ministry for fisheries. The fact that he insults the people of Kerala by speaking a lie time and again is something that the citizens need to take note of,” Irani said.
Giriraj Singh, who is Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, accused Gandhi of “misleading the people of the country”.
“He (Rahul Gandhi) should know that there is a Fisheries Department for which an investment of Rs 20,050 crore has been made by the Centre. In 70 years, work that couldn’t be done by your ‘nanaji’ and others, has been done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
“I believe that it’s a planned strategy. The brother is putting a rift between north and south and the sister is misleading the farmers. Rahul Gandhi’s strategy is to mislead the fishermen. He is either conspiring to mislead the country or he does not have sufficient knowledge,” he added.
Union Power Minister RK Singh said the senior leaders from the Congress should inform Gandhi that a separate ministry already exists under the leadership of Giriraj Singh.
“It seems that no one has given information on Fisheries Ministry to him and he does not know about it. It is important that senior leaders of Congress should make him understand so that he doesn’t make such statements. They should correct him that the Government of India already has a Fisheries Ministry and Giriraj Singh is Cabinet Minister and Ministry is doing a lot of work,” Singh said.
“He (Rahul Gandhi) had said the same thing in the past in Puducherry,” he added.
Kharge said that attention was not being paid to the Fisheries Department.
“Fisheries Department comes under Agriculture but nobody gives attention. I appreciate what Rahul Gandhi said. They need full support from the government. Fisheries Ministry should be created. In some places, there are Fishery Ministries but at the Centre, they haven’t taken the interest.” (ANI)
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