Frivolous cases under SC/ST Act: K’taka HC orders recovery of Rs.1.5 lakh aid provided to litigant

Taking exception to a litigant who had filed three separate complaints against a person under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on the same incident and also received Rs 3.5 lakh from the Social Welfare Department to fight these cases, the High Court of Karnataka directed that the money be recovered from the complainant.

Justice M Nagaprasanna, in his judgment said, “It is for this reason that genuine cases of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who would actually suffer abuses, are lost in the multitude of such frivolous cases. Haystack of frivolous cases have mushroomed to a large extent that searching a genuine case in the haystack has become like searching for a needle in a haystack, as most the cases are in abuse and misuse of the process of law, like the kind in hand.”

He then quashed the case pending before a Sessions court in the district headquarters town of Bagalkot.

The HC also directed the State to recover Rs.1.5 lakh from the complainant after noting that two other cases filed on the same incident in different police stations were found to be false.

“It is not in dispute that the complainant on registering the impugned crime, against the petitioner has sought aid from the social welfare department to the tune of Rs1,50,000. The crime is third in line, which is now held to be frivolous, vexatious and malicious, in the light of the aforesaid finding.

“Therefore, it becomes necessary for the State to recover Rs.1,50,000 that is granted to the complainant for prosecuting the impugned proceedings, as it is paid out of public money for prosecuting a frivolous case,” it said.

The court further said it was also necessary for the State to scrutinise the papers before grant of any aid, so that the amount is spent upon cases where members belonging to the Scheduled Caste /Scheduled Tribe, who actually suffer abuses, are given such aid, and not such frivolous litigants.

“If no direction of the kind is issued it would amount to putting a premium on the frivolous litigative persistence of the complainant, therefore it is necessary that recovery of Rs.1,50,000 be made from the complainant in accordance with law,” the judge observed.

The complainant is a school teacher who was dismissed from service. After several rounds of litigation, he was ordered to be reinstated. Later in June 2020, he claimed that the headmaster of the school waylaid him on the road and abused him taking his caste name and also assaulted him.

When the charge sheet was filed in the case, the headmaster approached the HC.

The headmaster’s advocate submitted to the court that similarly two other complaints were made against him and in both the cases; the police filed B Report’ after finding no


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The HC said in the recent judgement that “What would unmistakably emerge in all the afore-narrated facts is the case becoming a classic illustration of gross abuse of the process of law and misuse of the provisions of the Act.”

The judge warned the complainant that he should not indulge in such acts.

“Therefore, the complainant is hereby admonished to forthwith stop registering such frivolous complaints taking recourse to filing of identical complaints before different police stations, having stock witnesses to depose, in his favour.

“If any case of this kind is brought before this Court, the matter would be viewed seriously and a direction to initiate proceedings against the complainant for malicious prosecution would also be permitted apart from imposing exemplary costs,” he added.

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