In the High Court of Andhra Pradesh
|Name of the Case||Patan Jamal Vali vs. The State of Andhra Pradesh|
|Citation||Criminal Appeal No. 452 of 2021|
|Date of the Case||April 27, 2021|
|Appellant||Patan Jamal Vali|
|Respondent-||The State of Andhra Pradesh|
|Bench/ Judge-||Dr. Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud. J & M.R. Shah|
|Statutes/ constitution involved||Article 15 (1) of The Constitution of India|
|Important Sections/ Articles||The Scheduled Caste and The Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989- Section 3 (2) (v) |
Indian Penal Code, 1960- Section- 376 (1)
In the following case, the appellant Patan Jamal Vali appealed to the Supreme Court of India after being aggrieved by the order passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court as it convicted the accused under Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and Section 376(1) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Therefore, the appellant in the following case argued that the ingredients which are mentioned under the Section 3(2)(v) are not established and even the court considered the theory of intersectionality by Kimberly Crenshaw in the U.S.A.
Keywords- Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribes, High Court, Supreme Court, Section.
The threat of violence is constant for women everywhere in the globe and is easily linked with helplessness and a lack of control. While women from all social, economic, and political backgrounds experience trauma after a horrific crime like rape, some women are more susceptible than others in these circumstances when there may be overlapping elements that exacerbate the trauma. What Kimberly Crenshaw refers to as “intersectionality” is such circumstances of additional oppression and prejudice. The ruling in question is significant because the Supreme Court of India uses the facts of this case as a “launching point” to examine the disturbing trends of violence and oppression experienced by disabled women nationwide. It also establishes the standards for how structural realities will be addressed by Indian courts, where judges will examine cases through an intersectional lens so that they can effectively address situations where there are multiple forms of oppression.
It may not be best for everyone to take a unilateral stance in favor of oppression and violence, and it is important to acknowledge the vulnerabilities that certain people may experience more than others. It is also important to note the court’s progressive thinking in how it handled the particular facts and circumstances, where the bench refused to view a person’s impairment as a sign of weakness. The victim’s vision handicap is brought up in court to show how vulnerable the woman is and how the accused would view her as a “soft target” who is more prone to violence. The case at hand is a criminal appeal from a judgment of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh concerning the rape of a visually impaired girl who belonged to the scheduled caste. In that judgment, the accused was found guilty of crimes punishable under sections 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 19892 (the 1989 Act) as well as sections 376(1) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (the IPC).
FACTS OF THE CASE
This appeal is in response to a Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court ruling on August 3, 2019. The High Court upheld the appellant’s conviction on charges covered by Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 19891 and Section 376(1) of the Indian Penal Code. The appellant has received a life sentence in jail for each of the aforementioned crimes, with the substantive sentences to run concurrently. The appellant has also been ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000 for each of the offenses, with a possible jail term of six months if he doesn’t.
The appellant had been working as a manual laborer for two years and resided in Gajulapalli village at the time of the event. Despite being blind since birth (PW3), PW2 used to live with her mother (PW1) and brother. The offspring of PWI is PW3 and INS. At the same place where the appellant was working, they were also doing manual labor. The prosecution asserts that the appellant, who shared a hamlet with PWI, regularly visited her home after learning of her son’s two-year labor. Despite being blind since birth (PW3), PW2 used to live with her mother (PWI) and brother. The offspring of PWI are PW3 and LW5. At the same place where the appellant was working, they were also doing manual labor.
The prosecution asserts that since the appellant knew her boys and resided in the same hamlet as PWI, he frequently visited her home.
Around 9 a.m. on March 31, 2011, PWI was conducting domestic chores at a public tap about fifty feet from her home, while her boys were cutting firewood nearby. The PWI allegedly informed the appellant that her husband and sons were chopping firewood and requested him to wait after the appellant enquired about her sons. After a half-hour, she heard her daughter (PW2) calling out for help. She hurried over to the house and saw that the door was locked from the inside.
She sounded the alarm, and her husband and sons hastened to the house. The appellant opened the door to escape. but was immediately apprehended. As soon as PWI entered the house, she saw PW2 lying naked on the ground and bleeding from her genitalia. The clothing on PW2 was torn and covered in blood. Despite trying to escape by opening the door, the appellant was immediately apprehended. As soon as PW1 entered the house, she saw PW2 lying naked on the ground and bleeding from her genitalia. PW2’s clothing was torn and covered in blood. According to PW2, when questioned, she said that the appellant came to the house and asked about her brothers before closing the door on her, falling on her, gagging her, and raping her. According to the prosecution, PW4 called the Sub-Inspector of Police (PW9) at the Mahanandi Police Station at 10 a.m. The cousin of PW I hurried over.
The Circle Inspector of Police, Nandyal Rural Police Station, who had just arrived, was given the appellant by the residents. PWI gave the police a formal report. which received the designation 28/2011. The victim was taken to the Government Hospital by PWII, where she was examined by the Civil Surgeon of the District Hospital. According to the medical assessment, PW2 was blind. The accused was first found guilty by the session’s judge, and the verdict was then maintained by the High Court.
- Whether the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Section 3(2)(v), of 19892 will apply to the offense for which the appellant is guilty?
- Whether the Indian Penal Code, Section 376(1), will apply to the offense for which the appellant is guilty?
ARGUMENTS OF THE APPELLANT AND RESPONDENT
In this SIP, learned counsel for the petitioner argued that a violation of this provision has not been proven due to the way the phrase “on the ground of that such person who is member of the Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe” should be interpreted in this Court in its decisions is given in Section 3(2)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which elaborate about the (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. As a result, it was unlawful to impose a life sentence in connection with a violation of Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code 1860.
- Constitution of India
Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
- The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them.
- No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction, or condition about—
- access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entertainment; or
- the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads, and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
- Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.
- Nothing in this article or clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.]
- Nothing in this article or sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of Article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30.
Section- 3 Punishments for offenses and atrocities.
(2) Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe,—
(v) commits any offense under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) punishable with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more against a person or property 1 [knowing that such person is a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or such property belongs to such member], shall be punishable with imprisonment for life and with fine.
- Indian Penal Code, 1960
Section- 376 Punishment for Rape
- Whoever, except in the cases provided for in subsection (2),
- commits rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which 1
- not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine].
The conviction of the appellant for crimes punishable by Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and Section 376(1) of the IPC was upheld by the Division Bench of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in Patan Jamal Vali v. The State of Andhra Pradesh. The appellant was given a life sentence. It was argued in an appeal to the Supreme Court that the elements of the offense under Section 3(2)(v) were not proven. The Court noted that it was unequivocally of the opinion that the offense under Section 376(1) had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt before moving on to analyze such submission.
The Court then took into account “intersectionality,” a term coined by Kimberly Crenshaw, about criminality against African-American women in the United States. Intersectionality, according to the Court, is a type of oppression “that [arises] out of the combination of various oppressions that, together, produce something unique and distinct from any one form of discrimination standing alone.” The Court cited Navtej Johar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC, noting that the stated decision had interpreted Article 15(1) of the Constitution using an intersectional lens. Additionally, the Report of the Justice JS Verma Committee, which was established in the wake of the Nirbhaya incident and noted how prejudice brought on by intersecting identities, was mentioned increases the level of violence towards specific communities (gender, religion, etc.). The Court addressed the vulnerability of women and girls with disabilities as victims of crime, particularly sexual violence, and held that although changes in the law marked a significant step, much work still needs to be done to ensure that their benefits are realized by those for whose benefit they were brought. The Court also established several guidelines to make the criminal justice system more accessible to people with disabilities. The Court concluded that the offense was not committed “on the ground” that the prosecutrix is a member of a Scheduled Caste following a thorough review of Section 3(2)(v). The conviction of the appellant and the punishment imposed on the offense under Section 3(2)(v) of the SC and ST Act were overturned by the court. However, it upheld the life imprisonment sentence associated with the conviction for the crime under Section 376(1) of the Penal Code.
Since there is no proof that the victim was raped because she is a member of the SC community, the court in this case found the defendant guilty under section 376(1) of the IPC rather than section 3(2)(v) of the 1989 Act. The court gave intersectionality a thorough examination and acknowledged that it should not be interpreted narrowly and that it should take into account social reality. In light of this, the Court declared that even though the accused shall not be found guilty under Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, it will have some bearing on the sentencing and that it was a relevant basis for the Sessions Court to find the accused guilty and sentence him to life in prison.
The court’s perspectives have been widened by using an intersectional lens to analyze the case’s circumstances. This lens also offers multidimensional viewpoints, allowing the court to consider oppression from various angles, with each disadvantage compounding the others. Given that the judges were sensitive to the victim’s socioeconomic vulnerabilities, the authors’ viewpoint is consistent with the ruling made by the bench. The court gave the prosecutrix’s testimony serious consideration while also taking intersectionality into account. The court was aware of the prosecutrix’s predicament and did not view her condition as merely “add-ons” to it. The court was aware that her physical and social circumstances contributed to her vulnerability as a victim and that, compared to people who share just one or a few of the victim’s traits, she was more at risk and susceptible to such an oppressive situation. The Supreme Court has established a precedent for the country’s courts to consider oppression emanating from many grounds and how the privileged may be perpetrating atrocities on individuals who are more vulnerable than others on social and economic grounds by using the judgment made in this case. While the connection between the accused and the injury experienced must be examined, the condition of the victim enduring the harm produced must also be taken into consideration.
 Student at UPES, Dehradun
 The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 15.
 The Scheduled Caste and The Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Section-3 (2) (v).
 Indian Penal Code, 1960, Section- 376 (1).
 AIR 2018 SC 4321.