Mere Registration of FIR Under SC/ST Act Cannot Lead To Immediate Arrest Of The Accused

In the instant case, the Telangana High Court has observed that the police cannot straightway arrest an accused just because he is accused of a crime under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Court refused to direct the police to arrest an MLA who had allegedly threatened a journalist.

A journalist (Guguloth Santosh Naik), in a newspaper report, had alleged that an MLA grabbed prime lands. According to the journalist, after the report was published, the MLA called him up and threatened him and his family and also used filthy language which prompted him to file a complaint u/s 448, 504, 506 r/w Section 109 IPC and Section 3(2) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

In his writ petition, the journalist alleged that the police had not taken action against the MLA.

After referring to various judgements, the Court observed that mere registration of a crime could not necessarily lead to a person’s arrest.

The Bench stated that freedom of expression is a core democratic value, and free and fair journalism is necessary. The Court further stated that fearless journalism is vital to society. 

However, the law laid down by the Apex Court and the fact that the instant petition was filed within four days, it cannot be said that the police did not do their work diligently, remarked the Court.

The Bench added that it would be premature to hold that the authorities’ actions in not arresting the accused would amount to misuse and abuse of power of the police.

Hon’ble Court directed the petitioner to make an appropriate application to the DSP and request him to provide police protection. The Court directed the  DSP that if such an application is made, then he should provide police protection to the journalist if he is satisfied, there is threat perception.

Case Details:-

Title: Guguloth Santosh Naik vs State of Telengana

Case No.: WP No. 23081 of 2020

Date of Order: 23.12.2020

Coram: Hon’ble Justice P Naveen Rao

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