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Nityananda Paul & Ors vs The State Of West Bengal & Anr on 6 March, 2020

Form No.J(1)

IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA
Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction

Present:

The Hon’ble Justice Madhumati Mitra

C.R.R. No.2380 of 2015

Nityananda Paul Ors.

-Versus-

The State of West Bengal Anr.

Advocate for the Petitioners : Mr. Amit Dey

Advocate for the State : Ms. Sayanti Santra

Judgment on : 06.03.2020

Madhumati Mitra, J. :

In the year 2015, the petitioners approached for quashing of the First

Information Report being Regent Park Police Station, Case No.114 of 2015, dated

01.06.2015

under Sections 153A/295A/34 of the Indian Penal Code and under

Section 3(X)/3(XV) of The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes

(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, pending before the Learned Additional Chief

Judicial Magistrate, Alipore, South 24 Parganas (ACGR-3291/15).

During the pendency of the present revisional application, the petitioner

no.1, viz.Nityananda Paul expired. Petitioner nos.2 and 3 are the daughter and

son of petitioner no.1.

The background aspects of the matter, so far relevant for the present

purpose, may be mentioned, in brief, as follows:

Petitioner no.2 and opposite party got married in the year 2013. It was

alleged that petitioner no.2 was subjected to physical and mental torture since

her marriage by her husband (opposite party no.2) and her in laws. Petitioner

no.2 lodged an F.I.R. being the Regent Park Police Station Case No.214 of 2014,

dated 04.10.2014, under Section 498A/120B of the Indian Penal Code.

Investigation of that case culminated into submission of charge-sheet being

charge-sheet no.102, dated 29.11.2014, under Sections

498A/341/323/506(ii)/114 of the Indian Penal Code.

It was the further allegation of the petitioners that the opposite party no.2

in gross abuse of the process of Court filed an application under Section 156(3) of

the Code of Criminal Procedure. That petition of complaint was registered as an

F.I.R. and a specific case was started against the present petitioners for

commission of alleged offences punishable under Sections 153A/295A/34 of the

Indian Penal Code and under Section 3(X), 3(XV) of The Scheduled Castes and

The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Learned Counsel for the State has produced the copy of the case diary at

the time of hearing. From the case diary, it reveals that the investigation ended

in submission of charge-sheet against the petitioners for commission of aforesaid

alleged offences.

Certified copy of the petition of complaint has been annexed to the present

application for quashing of the proceedings. From the said petition of complaint,

it reveals that the marriage of petitioner no.2 with complainant/opposite party

no.2 was a love marriage and their marriage was not accepted by the petitioner

nos.1 and 3. Opposite party no.2/complainant belongs to schedule caste

community. It was alleged in the said petition of complaint that petitioner nos.1

and 3 provoked the petitioner no.2 to use abusive and caste indicative language

against the complainant and his family as they are Harijans.

On 3rd October, 2014, at about 10.30 am, the accused persons/petitioners

threatened the brother, sister in law of the complainant and also one villager of

the complainant who had come to the residence of the complainant on the

occasion of Durga Puja and the accused abused them with filthy language

mentioning their caste, place of origin and family status. It was also specifically

alleged that the accused no.3, i.e., petitioner no.2 always created mental

pressure upon the complainant as he belongs to the scheduled caste community.

While making his submissions in favour of quashing of the proceedings,

the Learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners has contended that the

petitioners have been falsely implicated and the allegations contained in the

petition of complaint are wholly baseless and have no factual foundation.

According to his contention, the averments of the petition of complaint do not

indicate the existence of the necessary ingredients of the alleged offences under

Sections 153A/295A/34 of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 3(X)/3(XV)

of The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,

1989. It is the further contention of the Learned Counsel for the petitioners that

the proceedings pending against the petitioners are the counterblast to the

proceedings initiated by them against the opposite party no.2/complainant for

commission of the offences under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

It has also been submitted by the Learned Counsel for the petitioners that

the petitioners do not belong to the scheduled caste or scheduled tribe

community and as such they cannot be prosecuted for commissions of the

alleged offences under the provisions of The Scheduled Castes and The

Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. He has further urged that

in absence of specific averments in the petition of complaint that the

petitioners/accused belonging to a higher caste insulted the complainant with

full knowledge otherwise, the continuance of the proceedings would be an abuse

of the process of the Court.

Another plea has been raised on behalf of the petitioners that the

investigation was not conducted in the manner as prescribed under Rule 7 of The

Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989,

Rules made under sub-Section(1) of Section 23 of Act and is liable to be quashed.

On the other hand, Learned Counsel for the State has refuted the

contentions as well as the submissions made by the Learned Counsel for the

petitioners and submitted that the averments in the petition of complaint and the

materials collected during investigation clearly indicate the commission of alleged

offences. According to her contention, it is not a fit case to quash the

proceedings pending against the petitioners.

The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities)

Act, 1989, is a special statute. But this statute has not prescribed any separate

procedure for investigation, inquiry, trial of the offences under this Act except

Rule 7 of The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of

Atrocities) Act, Rules 1995. Rule 7 of The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled

Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Rules 1995 made under sub-Section (1) of

Section 23 of the Act provides that an offence committed under the Act shall be

investigated by the police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent

of Police. From the case diary, it reveals that the investigation was conducted by

Mr.Jainal Abedin, Asstt. Commissioner of Police (III), South Suburban Division
(Jadavpur Division), Kolkata. As such, the contention of the petitioner that the

investigation was not conducted as per rule is not tenable at all.

A plain reading of Section 3 of the Act shows that the offences which are

enumerated under Section 3(1) of the Act require to be committed by a person

who is not a member of a scheduled caste or a scheduled tribe community. As

such, in order to attract the provision of Section 3(1) of the Act, the accused is

not required to be a member of scheduled castes or scheduled tribes community,

but the victim must be a member of the said community.

It is true that quashing of criminal proceedings by the High Court in

exercise of inherent power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

is an exception. It can be exercised ex debito justitia to do real and substantial

justice.

In order to form an opinion in this regard, the entire complaint has to be

read as a whole. If on perusal of the entire complaint, it reveals that the

averments of the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and

accepted in their entirely do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a

case against the petitioners/accused then the question of quashment of criminal

proceedings comes. In the present case the opposite party No.2/complainant

described how she was abused and ill treated as they are the members of the

scheduled caste. A plea has been raised on behalf of the petitioners that the
proceedings pending against them are the counter blast to the criminal

proceeding initiated by them against the petitioners/accused.

Earlier proceedings initiated by the accused/petitioners against the

opposite party No.2/complainant does not ipso facto prove or establish that the

subsequent proceeding is a counterblast to the earlier proceedings. Each case

has to be judged on its own merit.

A specific contention has been made on behalf of the petitioners that

ingredients of alleged offences under Sections 153A/295A of the Indian Penal

Code are totally absent in the written complaint.

In the present case, the investigation ended in the submission of charge-

sheet against the petitioners.

It is well settled that the High Court While exercising power under Section

482 of the Cr. P. C. should not exercise the jurisdiction of the trial Court and

hold a parallel trial. More so, from the materials placed in the case diary it

cannot be said that the continuance of the proceedings would be an abuse of the

process of the Court. Hence, the prayer for quashing of the proceedings is

dismissed on due consideration.

Before parting with the case, I would like to clarify that the observations as

made in this judgment should not be taken as an expression of any opinion

regarding the merit of the criminal proceedings pending before the Learned

Magistrate. The Learned Trial Magistrate shall proceed with the complaint and

dispose of the same in accordance with law.

Certified copy of the case diary be handed over to the Learned Counsel for

the State immediately.

Urgent Photostat certified copy of this judgment be supplied to the parties,

if applied for, upon compliance of all formalities.

(Madhumati Mitra, J.)

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