Supreme Court and the sc/st (prevention of atrocities) act

Posted by rajeev reddy
April 8, 2018

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Ever since the honourable Supreme Court of India delivered its judgement in the now famous Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan vs State of Maharashtra case, flames have been burning all over the country. Several organisations, political parties, and young people of this nation have taken no time to blame the apex judicial authority for what they perceive to be as judicial overreach. Before we dive into the repercussions of the judgement, let us examine the need and the premise of the judgement and what made the court opine in this way.

For many years, now the Law Commission and the Supreme Court have expressed their discontent at the misuse of many laws, especially the way they have been used to victimise innocents. One such section which is noteworthy to mention is the section 497 or popularly called the adultery section. This particular section exclusively applies to men and they are penalised for even consensual sex. Adultery law has been criticised for its gender bias and the way women is treated as a property, courts in this country have been repeatedly voicing their opinion that this section has victimised many men and how some men have used this as a weapon. Another equally or possibly more misused section is the domestic violence section, where in a woman can sue her husband and his parents for just the sake of it, section 498A which criminalizes domestic violence has been recently “diluted” by the supreme court by providing for family welfare boards to enquire into cases before making an arrest. The court in it’s judgement cited the lower rate of convictions proving the mala fide intention with which they were filed. Hence, the honourable court took a stand to protect the innocents even before it’s latest judgement.

Similar analogies can be drawn in the cases of false rape cases, section 377, elopement charges and others. To mitigate this the court from time to time has stepped up and has made corrections wherever necessary. What the general population misses to see is that the court has taken into consideration authentic data from the highest source for it, the NCRB. The judgement was not premised on assumptions or possible misuse, it was based on the fact that NCRB cites 75% acquittal. It is blatantly visible that it adds weight to the already overburdened judiciary and stifles administration. Especially in these cases which often result in suspensions and remand, the accused face severe emotional trauma, in many cases loss of their livelihood.

Frivolous and mala fide charges made against superiors with little or no evidence makes the police run from post to post for evidence and a case that does not exist. Even the police administration is not immune to the reverse harassment happening as any refusal to file the case immediately leads to stringent punishments irrespective of the veracity of the claims. No law mandates the sanction of legal harassment and this has been possible rectified now.

The honourable court has not diluted the provisions of the act as has been portrayed and misinterpreted. But it has added some provisions which now makes the act targeted to reach the goal which it was enacted to meet. The act protects the depressed classes as it aimed to do so more effectively, by providing justice to who ever needs it and protecting those who are being framed. The act has now just readjusted it’s modus operandi to protect the innocents who are being victimised by some parties with vested interests. It is not uncommon to see around in India where one often tries to misuse the provisions of the law, the supreme court as the guardian of the constitution bears the responsibility to check this. And it has via it’s series of judgements has upheld the spirit of the laws and the constitution.

The court with it’s latest judgement has protected the fundamental rights of the accused which he/she is entitled to under article 15, 20 and 21. This is a positive step in the way towards rightful Judicial activism and judicial responsibility. The supreme court needs to be appreciated for it’s timely intervention and course correction

 

Footnotes

  1. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/district-courts-2-81-crore-cases-pending-5000-judges-short-across-india-4475043/
  2. Law commission 243 rd report.
  3. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/misuse-of-dowry-laws-and-the-failure-of-the-system/article19435399.ece

 

 

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