New Delhi: Sixteen workers of Moolchand Hospital, including five women, have been acquitted of the charges of unlawful assembly, beating and threatening a doctor 16 years ago by a Delhi court which said the statements of witnesses were contradictory and unreliable.
Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar absolved 11 men and five women who were the employees of the hospital and were demonstrating at the hospital when a meeting was arranged to resolve the dispute between workers union and management in August, 1998.
"As per the case of the prosecution, there were around 250?300 agitating employees. Out of those employees, only 16 persons were named in the FIR. None of the official witness deposed or narrated the incident in detail. They simply alleged that the agitating employees manhandled the police and officials of the hospital. The allegations are general and not specific," the court said.
The court acquitted Rajesh Sharma, Rattan Singh, Jagat Ram, Kiran Singh, Raman Lal, Satish Kumar, Ashok Kumar Seth, Madho Prasad, Sushil Kumar Jain, Fateh Singh, Anand Rout, Bridget VM, Alleyamma Rajan, Thresiamma George, Rosy Peter and Annamma Samuel of various provisions under the IPC including unlawful assembly, criminal intimidation, wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt, obstructing and assaulting police personnel while discharging their duty.
According to the prosecution, on August 20,1998, a meeting was arranged to resolve the dispute between workers union and management of the Moolchand Hospital. There was a court order restraining any demonstration within 300 metre of the hospital premise and a police team was deployed there.
It was alleged that around 60 to 70 women and 150 male workers were demonstrating at the hospital and after the failure of the meeting, when complainant Dr Jeevan Singh Arora, along with other colleagues, came out of the premises, a mob led by union leader Jagat Ram "wrongfully" restrained them, said the prosecution.
The prosecution said the workers did not listen to police and attacked Arora. The workers also caused injuries to the police officials who tried to save Arora and other doctors.
The court, however, acquitted the accused saying the testimonies of the complainant and other prosecution witnesses were "contradictory and unreliable" and police miserably failed to establish the charge against them.
"It is a well settled legal proposition that any benefit of doubt goes in favour of the accused. Thus, this court is of the considered view that the benefit of doubt in the present case be given to the accused and he is entitled to be exonerated of the charges against him in the present case," the magistrate said.
The court also said these 16 accused were chosen ones from the alleged unlawful assembly of 250-300 persons and in such cases, Test Identification Parade (TIP) was a material evidence but no such TIP was conducted.