10 June 2024


High Court of Bombay

Govind Vs. The State of Maharashtra and Ors.




A provision enacted in Special Act to protect persons belonging to SC and ST and a bar imposed in granting bail cannot be easily brushed aside

The Appellant challenges the order passed by Additional Sessions Judge, rejecting the application for anticipatory bail on the ground that, it was barred by Section 18 of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC&ST Act). The Appellant had claimed anticipatory bail in Case registered on the basis of FIR of Respondent No. 3 for offences punishable under Section 506 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and under Section 3(1)(r)(s) of SC & ST Act.

The scope of Section 18 of the SC/ST Act read with Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC )is such that it creates a specific bar in the grant of anticipatory bail. When an offence is registered against a person under the provisions of the SC/ST Act, no Court shall entertain application for anticipatory bail, unless it prima facie finds that such an offence is not made out. Moreover, while considering the application for bail, scope for appreciation of evidence and other material on record is limited.

Court is not expected to indulge in critical analysis of the evidence on record. When a provision has been enacted in the Special Act to protect the persons who belong to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and a bar has been imposed in granting bail under Section 438 of the CrPC, the provision in the Special Act cannot be easily brushed aside by elaborate discussion on the evidence.

In the present case, though the enmity is brought on record and the past conduct created some doubt, it is not disputed that the informant is belonging to SC and there are specific averments in the FIR disclosing the offence under SC & ST Act. There are two eye-witnesses. In the light of these facts, at this stage, only on the basis of enmity with sister of the accused, it will not be possible to come to a conclusion that FIR filed by the Respondent No. 3 is false, malicious and motivated.

The Apex Court in Shakuntla Devi Versus Baljinder Singh reported held that, unless the Court records finding, no offence under SC & ST Act is made out, this Court cannot overlook the bar under Section 18 of the SC & ST Act. In the facts and circumstances of this case, when no such finding can be recorded, the bar of Section 18 is applicable and bail application cannot be considered. In such situation, if the application for anticipatory bail is not maintainable in view of the bar under Section 18, it will be more convenient, if the accused instead of filing application under Section 438 of CrPC surrender himself before the Special Judge and seeks bail.

If the Special Judge having regard to all the circumstances finds that, the custodial investigation is not necessary, there is no possibility of abscondence or tampering of the witnesses and there is no other ground for rejecting the bail application, he can decide the bail application on the same day and grant bail in appropriate cases. Application rejected.


Shakuntla Devi vs. Baljinder Singh MANU/SC/0407/2013

Tags : Bar Anticipatory Bail Legality

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