Casteist remark against Dalit cant be compromised: SC

New Delhi: Calling a Dalit by his caste is a serious offence that cannot be condoned even if both the accused and the complainant arrive at a compromise, the Supreme Court said on Monday.

A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra said the only way of ending the feudal mentality of those insulting the Dalits would be by sending them to the jail so as to act as a deterrent for others.

"The only way is to send you to the jail. This is modern age. The days of feudalism are over," the bench said while refusing to compound (close the case by way of fine) the dispute as sought by counsel S D Dwaraknath.

In the instant case, Arumugan Servai, Ajit Kumar and nine others of Samayanallur village in Tamil Nadu`s Madurai district were sentenced to six months imprisonment for calling a neighbour Paneeselvan "parayan"(a slang for Dalit).

The Madras High Court had upheld the sentence, after which they appealed in the apex court seeking quashing of the sentence on the ground that both the parties to the dispute have reached a compromise to ensure caste harmony in the village.

The apex court however, turned down the plea for quashing of the case registered under relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 on the ground that it was not a compoundable offence.

"How can you call a man a chamar or other names just because he is poor? It is an offence which is not compoundable. Even if you have reached a compromise, we cannot reduce the sentence because there is no provision under the law for compounding the offence," the bench said.