ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Misuse of the Prevention of Atrocities Act

Scrutinising the Mahajan Judgment, 2018

The Supreme Court in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v State of Maharashtra (2018) has toned down the effectiveness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 based on incorrect facts and faulty logic. The Court has made the filing of first information reports and arrest of the accused impossible in cases of caste atrocities while simultaneously providing no remedy to members of the SCs/STs against caste discrimination and violence. The Supreme Court judgment may unwittingly turn out to be a licence for upper-caste culprits to violate the law with impunity.

In a recent judgment of the Supreme Court in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v State of Maharashtra and Another (2018) (henceforth Mahajan case), Section 18 of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (PoA Act) has been toned down. Alongside, the police has been prohibited from registering a first information report (FIR) without preliminary inquiry and making an arrest sans the written permission of the appointing authority if the accused is a public servant, and senior superintendent of police (SSP) in the case of non-public servants. The judgment is loaded with prejudice and incorrect interpretation of facts. This paper scrutinises the judgment in the Mahajan case and seeks to analyse the reasons and justifications given by the Court to tone down the PoA Act.

The PoA Act Perpetuates Casteism?

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Published On : 1st Jun, 2018

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