Though meant for the oppressed section of society, the Act is often used to settle personal scores LAW cannot be the `absolute property of a few', a Delhi court has said while expressing concern over growing misuse of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, meant for the oppressed section of the society.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said that court should not remain as `mute spectator' to the abuse of the law which was passed with an aim to improve the lot of a particular section of the society. Unfortunately one comes across growing instances of cases where the provisions of this Act have not so much been invoked for the betterment of those to whom it seeks to protect, than by those who want to settle personal scores by giving to an otherwise ordinary dispute, the colour of an alleged atrocity under the SC/ ST Act, 1989, the court said.
It said authorities should ensure that the legislation is used only to eliminate the exploitation of the marginalised members of the SC/ STs. Law cannot be the absolute property of a few and this court can only hope and appeal that the provisions of this special legislation are not abused by a few so as to ensure that its benefit is able to actually reach the exploited sections, the court said.
The court made the observations while refusing to take cognisance of a charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police under various provisions of the IPC and SC/ST Act against three persons following a land dispute with S S Khemwal, a former Deputy Secretary with Ministry of Petroleum.
The present case is just another glaring example of abuse of a special legislation having stringent provisions, so enacted to ameliorate the lot of hitherto under-privileged, deprived and marginalised section of the society.This court in a case like present will not remain a mute spectator to any abuse of the process of law. This court also will not be a privy to any exploitative situation of misuse and abuse of this Act, whose abuse has otherwise raised serious concerns all over the country, it said.