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[Section 15A(3) SC/ST Act] Not Mandatory To Hear Victim While Granting Bail Where Accused Charged With Bailable Offence: Gujarat HC

The Gujarat High Court held that courts need not hear the complainant/victim during bail hearings for bailable offences under the SC/ST Act. “When a person is accused of committing only bailable offence or offences under the Act, it is not mandatory to grant opportunity of hearing to the victim or the dependent as provided under Section 15A(5) of the Act in a proceeding relating to granting bail to such accused”, ruled the bench. However, it clarified that before the court decides to decline such opportunity to the victim or the dependent, the court shall thoroughly verify and ascertain that the allegations against the accused disclose commission of only bailable offence or offences under the Act, by him. Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice J. B. Pardiwala were considering a writ petition to hold and declare that the provisions of Section 15A(3) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 as violative of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India and strike it down.

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