Read Order: Simranjit alias Simranjit Kaur v. State of Punjab

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, March 31, 2022: Based on the established precedent laid down by the Supreme Court that the bar under Section 18 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 on the grant of bail to a person implicated as an accused under Section 3 of  SC/ST Act would not be applicable when the accused-petitioner is not aware of the fact that the complainant belonged to the Scheduled Caste, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted bail to an accused, placed in such similar circumstances. 

In the words of Justice Vikas Bahl, “Thus, keeping in view the abovesaid facts and circumstances as well as legal position, bar under Sections 18 and 18-A of the SC/ST Act, is not attracted as, prima facie, the ingredients of Section 3(1) of the SC/ST Act are not made out and the present petition is allowed and the interim order dated 30.09.2021 is made absolute.”

The Court was called upon to decide on a petition under Section 438 read with Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking grant of anticipatory bail to the petitioner in an FIR registered against him under Sections 323, 342 and 149 IPC read with Section 3 of the SC/ST Act.

The case of the petitioner was essentially that the FIR in question was nothing but a counter-blast to an FIR registered by the petitioner’s mother-in-law. Further, the petitioner submitted that nowhere it was mentioned in the FIR that the petitioner was aware of the fact that the complainant belonged to the scheduled caste community. 

Also, the counsel for the petitioner contended that in such circumstances, it was repeatedly held that the bar under Section 18 of the SC/ST Act would not be attracted. Reliance for this purpose was placed upon the Supreme Court in Prathvi Raj Chauhan Vs. Union of India and others, 2020(4) SCC 727, to contend that in such like situation, the bar under Sections 18 and 18-A of the SC/ST Act would not apply. Further reliance was placed upon judgment of this Court in Jai Parkash and others Vs. State of Haryana and another, 2011(3) RCR (Criminal) 217 to state that in case, it is not specifically averred in the FIR that the petitioner had knowledge that the complainant belonged to a Scheduled Caste, then the offence would not be made out and the bar under Sections 18 and 18-A of the SC/ST Act would not operate. 

Lastly, on the issue of the FIR in question being a counter-blast to an FIR registered by the petitioner’s mother-in-law, the petitioner’s counsel placed reliance on the judgment of this Court in Om Parkash Sharma vs. U. T. Chandigarh, 2001(3) RCR (Criminal) 840, to contend that in case the FIR is a counterblast to the complaint given by the petitioner or if the ingredients of the provisions are not met with, then the bar under Section 18 cannot come in the way of the petitioner being granted the concession of anticipatory bail. 

After looking into the cases cited by the petitioner’s counsel and also upon finding substance and showing agreement with the cited precedents, Justice Bahl expounded that keeping in view the above-said facts and circumstances as well as legal position, bar under Sections 18 and 18-A of the SC/ST Act, is not attracted as, prima facie, the ingredients of Section 3(1) of the SC/ST Act are not made out. 

Accordingly, the present petition was thus allowed. 

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