Amidst pendency of review petitions by the Union as well as several states against the controversial judgment in Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra, where the apex court, in directing preliminary enquiry prior to arrest and lifting the absolute ban on anticipatory bail, diluted the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, the Supreme Court on Monday granted an interim stay on the arrest of activist Trupti Prashant Desai in connection with a FIR under the said Act.
The vacation bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Mohan M. Shantanagoudar also issued notice on her SLP challenging the Bombay High Court’s denial of anticipatory bail in respect of the FIR invoking inter alia sections 3(1)(r), 3(2)(va) and section 6 of the Act, lodged at the behest of a member of the Mahar community.
A Division Bench of the High Court had, on April 23, holding that no case for anticipatory bail was made out, observed, “We are not going into the truth and falsity of the allegations at this stage. Once this complaint is perused in its entirety, particularly in the backdrop of the provisions of the SC/ST Act and the mandate of section 18 thereof, we cannot term this complaint as a patent false version. Merely because the complaint was made after some time, does not mean that ingredients of section 3(1)(r) are not, prima facie, satisfied. The FIR also invokes section 3(2)(va), which has been inserted by Act I of 2016. We do not think that at this stage we should express any opinion and particularly whether these provisions and the ingredients thereof are satisfied…”
The complainant has claimed that on his way to Mumbai, the petitioners had forcefully stopped his vehicle, snatched his mobile phone which allegedly contained evidence against them, besides a gold chain and a sum of Rs. 27,000. Thereupon, they had assaulted him with sticks and an iron rod and abused him in the name of caste.
The petitioners, before the High Court, had contended that the complaint was made after 10 days of the incident and hence, There appeared to be a patent falsity in the version of the complainant; that Such complaints are always made on account of disputes and differences and particularly when one is running an organisation. It was further submitted that the petitioners are social workers and hence, have never abused the complainant in the name of his caste; that The whole incident is a figment of his imagination and that he does not belong to the Scheduled Caste for he has allegedly converted himself from Hinduism to Christianity.