New Delhi: A government official cannot be automatically arrested under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.
A bench comprising justices U.U. Lalit and A.K. Goel held that a public servant could be arrested only after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the Senior Superintendent of Police, if considered necessary for reasons recorded.
To avoid false implication of an innocent, a preliminary enquiry may be conducted by the deputy superintendent concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the Act and that the allegations are not frivolous or motivated.
The court was hearing an appeal filed one by Subhash Kashinath Mahajan against a Bombay high court ruling refusing to quash the FIR lodged against him for offences alleged under the Act.
The court further observed, “If the allegation is to be acted upon, the proceedings can result in arrest or prosecution of the person and have serious consequences on his right to liberty even on a false complaint which may not be intended by law meant for protection of a bonafide victim."