Read Order: Bhagwant Singh Randhawa and another vs. State of Punjab 

Tulip Kanth

Chandigarh, October 19, 2021: While discussing that the provisions of SC&ST Act are being misused, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Director General of Police, Punjab to issue instructions to all the Senior Superintendents of Police in Districts that no FIR under the Act be registered at the instance of third party, unless an opinion is sought from the District Attorney (Legal) that the complainant falls within the definition of victim as per the  Act.

Herein, the petition had been filed for grant of anticipatory bail to the petitioners in an FIR registered under Sections 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (Amendment 2015) (SC&ST Act) at Police Station Rama Mandi, District Jalandhar.

The petitioner’s counsel mainly contended that that the first and second petitioners are husband and wife and are senior citizens. The dispute of the petitioners was with their own son namely Prince Randhawa @ Prince, who wanted to perform marriage with a girl, namely Ramanpreet Kaur, who belongs to SC/ST Caste.

Prior to his marriage, there was some private conversation between the petitioners and their son Prince and Ramanpreet, in which it was alleged that the petitioners had used some derogatory words against the community of Ramanpreet. Later on, Prince and Ramanpreet got married.

It was further submitted that much prior to the performance of the marriage, the petitioners had disowned their own son by issuing a notice in the newspaper as he used to maltreat the petitioners. It was also contended that the petitioners later met with one ASI, who put pressure on the petitioners to transfer the property in the name of Prince otherwise, they would be falsely implicated in some case. 

According to the petitioners, as a ploy to oust them from the house, Prince had uploaded the said audio recording on his social media profile and the complainants namely Navdeep, Sunil Bagha and Gurdeep Singh, claiming themselves to be a social activist in Jalandhar got the aforesaid FIR registered.

On a Court query, counsel for the State submitted that Ramanpreet Kaur had not come forward to lodge any complaint with the police.

The Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan observed that there was clear misuse of process of law by invoking provisions of SC&ST Act, considering the fact that the petitioners are senior citizens and first petitioner is a Doctor by profession and the petitioners have no criminal antecedents, in any manner and admittedly, there is a property dispute between the petitioners, on one side and his son, on the other side, who was  disowned by the petitioners in the year 2016 and now on account of the fact that Prince had performed marriage with Ramanpreet Kaur, the present FIR was registered by three persons who are not “victims” as per Section 2(1)(ec) of the SC&ST Act. 

The Bench went on to note that the conduct and behaviour of Ramanpreet Kaur in not lodging any complaint against her parents-in-law i.e. the present petitioners showed that she was hopeful of getting the things resolved in future.

Therefore, finding that none of the complainant had any locus standi to register the present FIR, the present petition was allowed and the petitioners have now been directed to be released on anticipatory bail on furnishing bail/surety bonds subject to the conditions envisaged under Section 438(2) of the Cr.P.C.

The Bench also ordered that it will be open for the Investigating Officer to issue notice in writing to the petitioners to join the investigation.

The Court thus, ordered the aforementioned instructions , considering the fact that so-called social activists are misusing the provisions of SC&ST Act.

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