The Karnataka High Court convicted 10 persons for barging into a Dalit Colony (Harijan Colony as per Judgment) and assaulting dalits.

The Court reversed the acquittal order passed by the Trial Court in this case by allowing complainant's appeal.

Convicting the accused under the IPC and the SC/ST (POA) Act, the Bench of Justice JM Khazi said that, "The accused have chosen to assault complainant and others for the simple reason that though they belong to Schedule Caste, they had the courage or audacity of complaining against person belonging to forward community."

Counsel Clifton D Rozario appeared for the appellant, while Counsel KG Sadashivaiah and HCGP Nageshwarappa appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a complaint was filed by the petitioner, alleging that she and other victims from the Dalit community were assaulted by accused persons from the forward community. The accused, on the basis of caste, abused and physically assaulted the complainant and others in the Dalit Colony. The police registered a case (Crime No.58/2008) for various offenses, and the accused were arrested and later released on bail.

The accused denied the incriminating evidence, and they did not present any defense evidence. Subsequently, the trial Court, in the impugned judgment, acquitted accused No.1 to 11. While the State did not challenge this judgment, the complainant filed the appeal, arguing that the trial Court's decision was illegal and contrary to the evidence on record.

The complainant sought to set aside the judgment, convict the accused, and impose appropriate sentences.

The High Court observed that the Trial Court had erred in its observation, and to that extent, said that, "without examining the entire evidence on record, including the documents, the trial Court has erred in making an observation that the complainant and FIR are anti-dated and thereby thrown away the entire prosecution case as false and set up. The trial Court cannot stop by just making an observation that the complaint and FIR are anti-dated. It has to state as to how the prosecution is benefited by it or the accused are prejudiced."

In a similar vein, it was observed that the Trial Court had hurriedly come to a wrong conclusion that the prosecution failed to bring home guilt to the accused, without examining the oral and documentary evidence placed on record.

In light of the same, the appeal was allowed and the accused were sentenced under the IPC and SC/ST (POA) Act.

Cause Title: Smt Lakshmamma vs D R Sudeep & Ors.

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