The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has ruled that victims under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act are entitled to compensation only on conviction of the accused and not merely on filing of FIR or submission of the charge sheet in the court.
The high court also ordered to send a copy of the order to the chief secretary, additional chief secretary (Home) and additional chief secretary (social welfare department) of the state government for necessary compliance.
Expressing concern over the misuse of the SC/ST Act, a single judge bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh observed, "The Court is noticing this trend every day in large number of cases that after receiving compensation from the state government the complainant enters into compromise with the accused for quashing of the proceedings."
"A petition is filed under Section 482 CrPC to quash the proceedings on the basis of compromise arrived at between the parties," said the court.
The judge said, "This court is of the view that taxpayers' money is being misused in this process. It would be appropriate to disburse the compensation only on conviction of the accused and not on filing of the FIR and submission of the charge sheet."
The high court added that in cases where the complainant had entered into a compromise with the accused for quashing of the proceedings and proceedings are quashed by this court against the accused in exercise of its power under section 482 CrPC, the state (government) is free to realise the compensation back from the alleged victim.
The complainant, who is a member of the Schedule Caste community, had lodged an FIR against the accused Israr Ahmad and others (petitioners in this case) at the Nasirabad police station in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh in 2019.
The investigating officer filed the charge sheet on February 2, 2019 in the court of special judge, SC/ST Act, Rae Bareli.
The state government had also awarded compensation of Rs 75,000 to the victim.
However, during proceedings in trial court in Rae Bareli district after filing of the charge sheet, the victim and the accused entered into a compromise for quashing of proceedings.
The high court also observed that the offence against the petitioners is trivial in nature except offence under "section 3(1) (da) and (dha) of SC/ST Act". The court allowed the petitioner to withdraw charges against the accused and stop proceedings in the court of special SC/ST judge, Rae Bareli.