The Allahabad High Court quashed the criminal proceedings under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 ((SC/ST Act) noting the shocking misuse and abuse of the same for personal vendetta.

The Bench allowed an application under Section 482 of the CrPC filed by a couple seeking to quash charges arising from an FIR. The FIR was lodged for offences under Sections 332, 341, 353, 389, 504, and 506 of the IPC, as well as Sections 3(1)(da), 3(1)(dha), and 3(2)(v) of the SC/ST Act. It alleged that the couple used caste-related slurs against the opposing party, which the couple claimed was nothing but a counterblast.

A Single Bench of Justice Prashant Kumar observed, “The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was promulgated to ensure that no atrocities takes place against the member of SC/ST who were in a most vulnerable condition. The Act which had been promulgated for a very specific reason, but shockingly the Provisions of this Act has been misused and abused by some people for the personal vendetta or for the personal interest, or to protect themselves from the rigours of the law.

Advocate Avneesh Tripathi represented the applicants, while GA Ashok Kumar Singh Bais appeared for the opposite party.

The couple purchased a piece of land, after which a demarcation order was passed by a Magistrate. However, the process was delayed by local revenue officials. The couple alleged that the revenue officials, along with the local police, had conspired to "grab" their land and were regularly torturing them. In response, the couple lodged an FIR against the miscreants.

After the couple confronted revenue officials about the demarcation order, a physical altercation ensued, which the couple recorded on video. Subsequently, one of the revenue officials filed an FIR accusing the couple of using caste-based slurs, charges denied by the couple.

It is clear that the applicant No. 2 had purchased a piece of land and after mutation applied for demarcated. Despite the order of demarcation, the same was not been carried out by the revenue officers for the reasons best known to them,” the Court noted.

The Court took into consideration the fact that the entire video clipping, photographs and other documentary evidence of the incident which were sent by speed post and WhatsApp were not entered into the case diary.

In this case, it is clear that there was dispute between the parties. Opposite party No. 5 was not carrying out the demarcation for that he made the applicant run from pillar to post,” the Court remarked.

Consequently, the Court held that “it is clear misuse and abuse of process of law there is not even single iota of evidence to show that the applicants are aware of the Caste of the opposite party No. 5 and in absence of knowing the same, it is hard to believe that the applicants had used Caste related words against the opposite party No. 5.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the application.

Cause Title: Alka Sethi & Anr. v. State of UP & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024:AHC:88704)


Applicants: Advocates Avneesh Tripathi and Aishwarya Pratap Singh

Opposite Party: AGA Shashi Dhar Pandey and Sudhir Kumar Chandraul; GA Ashok Kumar Singh Bais; Advocate Gaurav Kakkar

Click here to read/download the Order