New Delhi: Effective policing and lack of adequate number of police personnel at the airport here encourage touts and illegal activities, bringing a bad name to the country, a Delhi court said on Wednesday holding an auto driver guilty of alluring passengers outside the arrival hall.
Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma held Jitender Kumar guilty under the 2010 Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourists Act, observing that it was common that outside the airport's arrival hall, "unscrupulous" auto and cab drivers lure passengers with promises of cheap hotels and usually misbehave with them.
"The absence of adequate police officials outside arrival hall gives encouragement to these unlawful activities by these law breakers.... These illegal activities also show lack of effective policing.
"In these circumstances, the role of the policemen assumes significance and stern and preventive action is required for stopping these illegal activities in sophisticated place like airport... Such incidents diminish reputation and also bring bad name to our country," the magistrate said.
The court, however, did not sentence Jitender to jail but imposed a fine of Rs 2,500 on him, considering that he was poor and had shown remorse for his act.
Accepting the testimonies of police officials in the case, the court said "a policeman is as competent a witness as any other person and where testimony of policeman is trustworthy" and his plausible explanation can be relied upon.
Regarding non-examination of passengers who were allegedly allured, the court said "it is quite likely that passengers are in hurry to reach their destination after their journey and tend to ignore the disturbance created by unscrupulous persons who annoy them by forcing them to take their services and in these circumstances the passengers try to leave at the earliest to avoid further inconvenience."
"...They prefer not becoming witness to legal proceedings as they fear that it may become onerous and expensive venture to them in future," it said.
According to prosecution, on June 15 last year, auto rickshaw driver Jitender was found alluring passengers outside the arrival hall at Delhi Airport by saying that he will ferry them at a cheap rate despite passengers' disinterest.
A constable, on duty at the airport, noticed him troubling the passengers after which Kumar was arrested.