What Was The Case That Led The Supreme Court To Change The SC/ST Act?
Bhaskar Gaikwad in 2007 filed a First Information Report (FIR) that led to a litigation finally resulting in the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe (SC/ST) Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.
He told The Times of India that the case took different turns due to misinterpretation of the original FIR. “Certain facts in the FIR which formed the basis for the litigation were not brought to the notice of the apex court. The case took a different turn because a wrong translation of the original FIR was placed before the SC by the opponents,” said Gaikwad.
Gaikwad said that he would file a review petition by April 19 saying that a fraud has been committed by way of submission of wrong document in the court.
Misinterpretation of FIR
Gaikwad said that the case originated from a complaint filed by him in 2007. At the time of filing the case, he was posted at the Government College of Pharmacy in Karad. The then principal of the college committed a fraud and Gaikwad was told to rewrite the records, which he refused to do. “The then principal had committed some fraud and wanted me to rewrite my records. I was the store manager and refused and even complained to the higher authorities that I was being pressured to do wrong thing. This enraged the officials in the college and they wrote a bad review in my annual confidential report,” he told The Times of India.
As reported by Firstpost, he went on to lodge a complaint with the joint director of Technical Education (DTE) in Maharashtra government, Subhash Mahajan, but received no help. Gaikwad then filed a complaint against Mahajan.
As a response to the complaint against him, Mahajan moved the court seeking the complaint against him to be revoked.
Gaikwad said, “Though the state government machinery fully supported Mahajan during the hearing in the High Court, he got no reprieve there.”
This prompted Mahajan to move the Supreme Court, which gave its verdict on March 20 that resulted in widespread violence across the nation.
Gaikwad claims that parts of the FIR were incorrectly translated. He says, “The original FIR was in Marathi. When it was to be submitted to the Supreme Court, they submitted a version of the FIR which did not have the original three paragraphs which explained why the FIR was filed in the first place. Additionally, they added a line in the translated version which was misleading and led to the exoneration of the then state director of technical education (DTE), who had moved the SC.”
Claiming false play, Gaikwad said, ”The verdict came in Mahajan’s favour because the Maharashtra government machinery supported him. Neither did the Maharashtra government take any decision to file charge-sheet against Mahajan for over one year, nor it gave me legal support to fight my case under the provisions of the SC/SC Act.”
As per reports, Gaikwad will file a review petition in the court against the March 20 judgement, in which he is a respondent. He said, “I am already discussing the issue of filing a review petition with my advocate and I will do it for sure by 19 April.”
Supreme Court’s March 20 Ruling
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court on March 20 suspended automatic arrest under the SC/ST Act. According to the ruling, public servant accused of hostility would be arrested only after a written permission from the appointing authorities. Also, action against accused private citizens would be taken only if the concerned Senior Superintendent of police allows. Besides this, the bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit also ruled that a preliminary inquiry should be conducted before the FIR is registered to check if the case falls under the parameters of the Atrocities Act or if it is frivolous or motivated.
It also said that a court can grant a pre-bail arrest (anticipatory bail) if it, prima facie, finds the complaint is an abuse of the law, false, motivated and intended to blackmail or harass a person. As per the old rules, the SC/ST Act does not permit a court from granting anticipatory bail to a person accused of the offence.