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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hawker acquitted in case of cop assault, court says testimony doubtful

The court also said that there was no evidence showing that the constable was deployed for taking action against hawkers at the time of the incident and no independent witness was examined.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
Updated: September 30, 2021 9:25:26 pm
No suicide note was found.

A sessions court in a recent order acquitted a 24-year-old hawker selling footwear — who was booked on charges of abusing and assaulting a police constable — raising doubts over the policeman’s testimony and stating that the possibility of false implication is “eminent”.

The court said there was no evidence to show that the constable was deployed for taking action against hawkers at the time of the incident, nor was any independent witness examined.

According to the submissions made before the court, in October 2016, police naik Prasad Pokharankar was on duty in a mobile van. It was claimed that the van was directed by the control room to take action against hawkers in South Mumbai. Police personnel saw hawker Karim Khoja selling footwear on a street and on inquiry came to know that he did not have a licence from the civic body. The police claimed they asked him to visit the police station, at which Khoja started shouting. The police alleged that he abused Pokharankar and pushed him.

An FIR was filed against him under section 353 (use of force or assault on public servant) under the IPC along with other sections.

The court said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is responsible for taking action against hawkers with the assistance of the police if required. The court agreed with the defence lawyer’s contention that the constable was not entitled to removing hawkers from the street.

“The presence of the informant (constable) at the spot is also suspicious as there is no evidence showing that he was deployed for taking action against the hawkers. Similarly, it is highly improbable that a feeble person would retaliate against the mighty police personnel. The spot of the incident is also doubtful. There is no independent witness to support the prosecution in the light of a self-interested version of the informant. Prosecution has failed to prove that from where informant derived authority for taking action against street hawkers,” additional sessions judge B V Wagh said.

The court said the investigator in the case had not collected the copy of the message given by the control room to take action against hawkers. The court said that the non-production of any valid document to show that the van was directed to take such action “looms large and does not inspire confidence”.

It also said that the policeman being a seasoned one knew how to deal with the situation. It considered the physique of the accused as well as the policeman and observed that it was “extremely impossible” that the accused overpowered and assaulted the latter.

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