2007 ALL MR (Cri) 194
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY(AURANGABAD BENCH)
J.H. BHATIA, J.
Bibhishan S/O. Maruti Anarse & Anr.Vs.State Of Maharashtra & Ors.
Criminal Writ Petition No.347 of 2006
25th August, 2006
Petitioner Counsel: Shri. N. V. GAWARE
Respondent Counsel: Shri. P. M. SHINDE,Shri. P. B. RAKHUNDE
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (1989), S.3(1)(x) - Protection of Civil Rights Act (1955), S.7(1)(d) - Criminal P.C. (1973), Ss.154, 482 - First Information Report - Quashing of - Complaint against accused under provisions of SC & ST Act and PCR Act - Unless the caste of complainant is specifically stated in the body of the F.I.R., the provisions of Atrocities Act and/or those of Civil Rights Act cannot be invoked against the accused - Mere mentioning of the caste in the format of F.I.R. U/s.154 of Criminal P.C. by the police is not sufficient - It should be actually stated in the statement of the informant which is treated as first information report - Otherwise, F.I.R. is liable to be quashed to that extent. 2001 ALL MR (Cri) 219 - Rel. on. (Paras 5 & 6)
Bai @ Laxmibai w/o. Nivratti Poul Vs. State of Maharashtra, 2001 ALL MR (Cri) 219 [Para 4,5]
Manoj @ Bhau Vs. State of Maharashtra, (1999)4 SCC 268 [Para 4]
Manohar s/o. Martandrao Kulkarni Vs. State of Maharashtra, 2005(4) Mh.L.J. 588 [Para 5]
Anant Vasantlal Sambre Vs. State Maharashtra, Cri. W.P. No.49/2001, dt: 20-4-2001 [Para 5]
3. The respondent No.3 Gangaram lodged report at Police Station Karjat, Dist. Ahmednagar on 6-6-2006 alleging that his wife had filed a complaint against one Vikram Maroti, under Bombay Money Lending Act and the offence was registered against him. On 4-6-2006 at about 5.30 p.m. respondent No.3, his brother Janardhan, and cousin Vithal Londhe were chit-chating by the side of the road. At that time accused Vikram, Bibishan and Manohar came to that side on a motor cycle and stopped near them. All the accused persons abused and insulted respondent No.3 in the name of caste by calling him Mangtya. They also physically man-handled and beat the complainant with fist and kick blows. His wife tried to intervene but she was also beaten. On the basis of the report lodged by the respondent No.3, offence was registered U/sS.324, 504, 506 IPC, and U/d.3(1)(x) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (Atrocities Act for the sake of brevity) and U/s. 7(1)(d) of Protection of Civil Rights Act (Civil Rights Act for brevity). The present applicants, who are accused Nos.2 and 3 in the said crime, have preferred this writ petition seeking to quash the F.I.R. alleging that the report was lodged falsely because of previous enmity and secondly in the body of the F.I.R. respondent No.3 - the complainant has not disclosed his caste and therefore, the provisions of the Atrocities Act and Civil Rights Act cannot be invoked.
4. Perused the F.I.R. It appears that F.I.R. It appears that F.I.R. was prepared in the prescribed format of the F.I.R. U/s.154. In the format of the F.I.R. caste of the respondent No.3 is shown as 'Hindu Mang' and caste of the accused persons is shown as 'Hindu Mang' and caste of the accused persons is shown as Hindu Mali. However, in the body of the F.I.R. recorded on the basis of the statement made by respondent No.3, caste of the accused persons is shown as Mali and he has also stated that all the accused persons had called him 'Mangtya' and thus they had insulted him in the name of caste. However, in the body of the F.I.R. nowhere he has stated about his own caste. Mr. Gaware, learned counsel for the petitioners vehemently contended that it is now well, settled by number of authorities from this Court that unless caste of the complainant is specifically stated in the body of the F.I.R., provisions of the Atrocities Act and/or those of Civil Rights Act cannot be invoked against the accused. He also contended that merely because the police have recorded the caste of the complainant in the format of F.I.R. that is not sufficient unless caste of the complainant is stated by him in the body of his report. He find support for this contention from Bai @ Laxmibai W/o. Nivratti Poul and others Vs. The State of Maharashtra, 2001 ALL MR (Cri.) 219, wherein the learned Single Judge of this Court had an opportunity to deal with the similar case. The learned Single Judge observed as follows in para 8 of the said judgment.
"8. However, there is considerable substance in the second ground of challenge by the learned Advocate for the applicants i.e. the F.I.R. nowhere discloses the caste of the complainant. Indeed, the perusal of the F.I.R. discloses that the complainant has nowhere stated anything about his caste to which he belonged to. There is no doubt the format under Section 154 of Cr.P.C. filed in by the Police authorities does disclose that the complainant is of 'Mahar' caste. It is however, not known as to from where this information was acquired by the police authorities to record the same in the format under section 154 of Cr.P.C. The format prescribed under section 154 by itself does not provide for any need for the complainant to disclose his caste. At the same time, the statement lodged by the complainant also does not disclose the caste of the complainant. Once it is apparent on the face of the provisions contained in section 3 as well as section 7 of both the Statutes referred to above, that in order to constitute an action on the part of the person to be an offence within the meaning of those sections, the insult or intimidation has to be addressed to a member of the Scheduled Caste. It is nobody's case that the complainant belongs to any Scheduled Tribes. In the absence of any such information, therefore, as rightly submitted by the learned Advocate for the applicants, there was absolutely no material before the Police authorities to invoke power under Chapter XII of the Cr.P.C. and to commence investigation considering the complaint to be a cognizable complaint."
The learned Single Judge also relied on Manoj alias Bhau and others Vs. State of Maharashtra, (1999)4 SCC 268, in support of his view that unless F.I.R. discloses the basis requirement of law which can enable the Police authorities to initiate investigation by considering the allegations to be in the nature of cognizable one, the applicants are certainly justified in making grievance about initiation of investigation on the basis of F.I.R. which does not disclose such information which can empower the police the investigate in terms of provisions contained in Chapter XII of Cr.P.C.Having observed so, the learned Judge came to the conclusion that as the F.I.R. in the said case did not disclose the basis ingredients of Section 3 or 7 of the Atrocities Act or Civil Rights Act, there was absolutely no case for the Police to initiate investigation.
5. The authority in the case of Bai @ Laxmibai (supra) was relied upon by another learned Single Judge in Manohar s/o. Martandrao Kulkarni and another Vs. State of Maharashtra, 2005(4) Maharashtra Law Journal 588. In the case of Manohar, a reference was also made to earlier authority of Division Bench of this Court in Criminal Writ Petition No.49/2001 (Anant Vasantlal Sambre Vs. The State Maharashtra and others) decided on 20-4-2001, wherein it was held that it is absolutely necessary for the complainant to disclose in the report that he belongs to the particular caste which is a Scheduled Caste to invoke the provisions of the Atrocities Act. It appears that the view taken in the case of Bai @ Laxmibai and Manohar (supra) has been followed in number of other cases by this Court. In view of this, it is now well settled that before investigation can be initiated for the offences punishable U/s.3 of the Atrocities Act or Section 7 of the Civil Rights Act, it is necessary that the complainant should disclose his caste in his report and it should specify that it is Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. Unless the caste is disclosed, action cannot be taken. In fact, this has been further clarified in case of Laxmibai that mere mentioning of the caste in the format of the F.I.R. U/s. 154, Cr.P.C. by the Police is not sufficient, it should be actually stated in the statement of the informant which is treated as first information report.
6. In the present case it is clear that the Respondent No.3 complainant did not state anything about his caste in the body of his report though, Police have noted his caste in the format of the F.I.R. U/s.154, Cr.P.C. In view of settled position of law as discussed above, the provisions of the Atrocities Act and Civil Rights Act cannot be invoked. To that extent F.I.R. will have to be quashed. As far as offences under Indian Penal Code are concerned, investigation may proceed as per law. The learned counsel also did not press for quashing of the F.I.R. to the extent of offences punishable under Indian Penal Code.
7. For the aforesaid reasons, the Writ Petition is allowed and the F.I.R. bearing Crime No.I-20/2006, registered by Police Station Karjat, Dist. Ahmednagar, for the offence punishable U/s.3(1)(x) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and under the provisions of Protection of Civil Rights Act, is hereby quashed and set aside. The proceedings for the offence under Indian Penal Code shall continue as per provisions of law.