Chandigarh: Castiest slur over phone is not a crime under Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

This has been ruled by the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

” Use of caste-based remarks during a phone call does not constitute an offence under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 as same cannot be said to have been committed within the public view”

Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill, while quashing an FIR against two residents of Kurukshtra has observed, “Merely uttering such wrong words in the absence of any public view does not show any intention or means to humiliate the complainant who besides being Sarpanch, belongs to Scheduled Caste community. It would not, thus, ipso-facto, constitute acts of the commission of an offence, which are capable of being taken cognizance under the SC and ST Act, 1989.”

The trial court had framed charges against the two accused as they had used caste-based slurs against the village Sarpanch in 2017. Before HC, the accused argued that the allegations do not fall within the provisions of the 1989 Act as the telephone call is not in a public view.

“Once it is admitted that the alleged conversation over the mobile phone was not in a public gaze nor witnessed by any third party, the alleged use of caste words cannot be said to have been committed within the public view,” Justice Gill observed.