The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ruled in a case of Pradeep Kumar and Sandeep aliass Deepa v. State of Haryana and Ors. that a casteist remark over a phone call would not constitute an offence under Sec 3 of The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The Court ruled on a criminal appeal arising out of an order passed by Additional Session Judge, Kurukshetra in a case filed under Sec 3 (1) (r) and Sec 3 (1) (s) read with 506/32 of IPC. The said Sections lays down that a person who is not the member of SC/ST if intentionally insults or intimidates with an intention to humiliate or abuses a member of SC/ST in public view would be punishable therein.
The fact of the case was such that two men were accused of intimidating and abusing a village Sarpanch, over a phone call by making casteist remarks. The High Court, observed that “Once it is admitted that the alleged conversation over the mobile phone was not in a public gaze nor witnessed by any third party, the alleged use of caste words cannot be said to have been committed within the public view” and hence such remarks over a phone call would not constitute an offence under the relevant sections.
Thus, the court went on to quash the FIR as well the order of the trail court.