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Shajan Scaria, editor and owner of the YouTube channel Marunadan Malayali, had his anticipatory bail motion denied by a Kerala court on Friday because he was accused of airing a derogatory news report about MLA PV Sreenijin [Shajan Skaria v SHO & Anr.].

According to Judge Honey M. Varghese, Scaria knew that MLA Sreejin is a member of the SC community and that information was enough for the publication of the aforementioned news item to constitute the violation under the SC/ST Act.

The anticipatory bail plea made by Scaria, who is accused of violating Sections 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(u) of the SC/ST Act as well as Section 120(0) of the Kerala Police Act, was being considered by the special court established under the SC/ST Act.

The prosecution claims that Scaria broadcast a news item with false, flimsy, and defamatory charges against the de facto complainant, MLA Sreenijin, in his position as editor and publisher of Marunadan Malayali.

It was claimed that the news item was broadcast with the intention of defaming SC community member and MLA Sreenijin. [1]

The attorney for Scaria claimed that MLA Sreenijin, the head of the District Sports Council, ordered the publication of the aforementioned news article to expose the mismanagement of a sports hostel.

He added that it was not released knowing that the MLA is a member of the SC community.

It was also noted that the news piece made no mention of the caste or community of the MLA.

The public prosecutor and the counsel for MLA Sreenijin both disputed the petitioner’s claims.

They said that given that MLA Sreenijin was elected in a seat designated for members of the SC community during the legislative assembly election, there is a good likelihood that Scaria is aware of this.

The attorney for the MLA also argued that the news story that was provided to the court was an altered form and that in the original, Scaria had referred to MLA Sreenijin as a “mafia don.”

The Court noted that Scaria had taken down the news story that referred to the MLA as a “Mafia don” and that he had originally published.

The petitioner (Scaria)’s action of removing the offending item is commendable, but it also strengthens the notion that they themselves viewed it as a disparaging remark, according to the Court.

The publishing of the aforementioned news item was sufficient to constitute the violation under the SC/ST Act, according to the Court, as Scaria was aware that MLA Sreejin belonged to the SC community.

Since he never meant to offend the de facto complainant knowing that he is a member of the Schedule Caste, the learned counsel for the petitioner (Scaria)’s claim that the materials are inadequate to prove the offence accused against him prima-facie must be dismissed. According to the explanation above, I hold that the accusation is clearly enough to qualify as an offence under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and as a result, the bar under section 18 is fully applicable in this instance, the court added. [2]

Consequently, it rejected the anticipatory bail request.

Written by- Himanshu Mishra, a student at St. Mother Teresa Law Degree College, Lucknow, 2nd Semester, an intern under Legal Vidhiya.


[1] BAR AND BENCH, https://www.barandbench.com/news/kerala-court-refuses-anticipatory-bail-marunadan-malayali-editor-shajan-scaria-booked-scst-act-news-mla-pv-sreenijin (last visited on June 18, 2023);


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