The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday asked the State government to consider framing guidelines to protect the staff of the Department of Forests from being falsely booked under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, based on suggestions made by the court-appointed amicus curiae in this regard.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition initiated suo motu by the High Court on the issue of false complaints filed against Forest staff under the Act by persons accused in forest offences such as poaching, smuggling and encroachment of forests.

In response to court’s direction, advocate K.N. Phanindra, amicus curiae, in his suggestions recommended that a magisterial inquiry should be ordered whenever a case was filed against Forest staff under the Act in relation to their action of discharging their official duty. Forest staff should not be arrested or proceeded with by the police officers who had taken action to protect the State’s interest, till the receipt of the magisterial inquiry report, the amicus curiae said.

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