New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a person belonging to an upper caste cannot be deprived of exercising his legal rights just because the opponent is a member of the SC/ST community. 

"Offence under the SC/ST Act is not established merely on the fact that the informant is a member of Scheduled Caste unless there is an intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste," said a bench, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao.

The judgment is a remarkable observation on the interpretation of the the law protecting SC/ST communities from indignation.

The top court also ruled that even hurling abuses will not make out an offence under the special law until proven that it was done with the motive of himilating the SC/ST community member.

"All insults or intimidations to a person will not be an offence under the Act unless such insult or intimidation is on account of victim belonging to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe," said the judge.

The court said the object of the Act is to punish the violators who inflict indignities, humiliations and harassment. “It is intended to punish the acts of the upper caste against the vulnerable section of the society for the reason that they belong to a particular community,” the judgment noted.

The ruling came on a plea filed by one Hitesh Verma booked under the SC/ST Act for allegedly abusing a Dalit woman in her house. The court observed that the allegations made against him did not fulfill the basic ingredient that such humiliation should have happened in public view. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta