18 July 2023 1:05 PM GMT
A Kerala Court recently acquitted four auto rikshaw drivers who were accused of threatening and harassing a woman for hailing an Uber Taxi at a railway station. The Judicial First Class Magistrate-II Balram M.K. acquitted the accused persons on noting that the prosecution had failed to prove that they committed the offences alleged against them or acted in furtherance of common...
A Kerala Court recently acquitted four auto rikshaw drivers who were accused of threatening and harassing a woman for hailing an Uber Taxi at a railway station.
The Judicial First Class Magistrate-II Balram M.K. acquitted the accused persons on noting that the prosecution had failed to prove that they committed the offences alleged against them or acted in furtherance of common intention.
The prosecution case was that on November 30, 2016, when a woman got into her Uber Taxi, the accused obstructed the movement of Taxi by saying that there was no entry for Uber Taxis in the Railway Station. When she took a video of the incident on her mobile phone, the accused allegedly threatened her by saying they would destroy the same. The accused persons proceeded to ask the woman to travel by Taxi or Auto-rickshaw, and not Uber taxi, it was alleged.
She thus claimed that the accused persons had obstructed and sexually harassed her. The accused were accordingly booked under Sections 354A ('Sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment'), 341 ('Punishment for wrongful restraint'), and 506 ('Punishment for criminal intimidation') read with Section 34 IPC.
The Court observed that neither the video footage of the incident taken by the woman nor her mobile phone, which were the most important pieces of evidence, were submitted before the Court by the prosecution. It took note that while the woman claimed that she had handed over the video to the police, the latter disputed it. "This raises very serious suspicion as to why this video is not produced before the court and why the same is kept away from the court," the Court said.
The police officer also added in cross examination that the woman had not deposed as to what sort of threatening was made or as to who had threatened her.
"There is no case for prosecution that there was a physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures or a demand or request for sexual favours or showing pornography against the will of a women or making sexually colored remarked by the accused. P.W.4 has deposed that P.W.1 has not stated that accused made any sexually colored remarks. P.W.4 also deposed that P.W.1 has also not stated as to what are the sexually colored remarks. There is no evidence adduced in this case to attract the offence under section 354 A of I.P.C.," the Court further observed.
The Court was thus of the view that the prosecution had failed to prove that the accused auto drivers had committed the alleged offences, and proceeded to set them at liberty.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Sheeja E.K. appeared on behalf of the State. The accused persons were represented by Advocate N.Satheesh.
Case Title: State v. Anilkumar & Ors.
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