The Himachal Pradesh High Court has laid that mere non- applicationof rules of anticipatory bail to the accused under the SC/ST Act, does not disqualify the accused from surrendering and applying for a regular bail from the court.
It has been observed that the SC/ST act is used as a tool put people in jail and keep them in custody and when this happens, the accused should be allowed to apply for ad-interim bail or regular bail. The bench also observed that the courts cannot be a mute spectator, when it is clear that the provisions of the SC/ST Act has been invoked just to deny the benefit of Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Section 438 of CrPC talks about the procedure for grant of bail to a person apprehending arrest.
The court held that “The practice of accused surrendering before Sessions Court or High court and thereby obtaining bail, cannot be said to be with a view to override the legislative intention of restraining the anticipatory bail to the violators of the SC/ST Act”.
The court relied on the case of KaramDass& others v. State of Himachal Pradesh, where the accused of SC/ST act, surrendered in front of the court and the High court accepted it and then released them on bail as per Section 439 CrPC.
The other case referred was Jones v. State, wherein the Madras High court held that “the purpose of bringing the SC & ST act is to put down the atrocities committed on the members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The law enforcing authorities must bear in mind that it cannot be misused to settle other disputes between the parties, which is alien to the provisions contemplated under the act.”
The court allowed the petitioner to surrender herself before the court and also allowed the courts accept her personal bonds, and release her on bail.