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Delhi court acquits man found ‘roaming around’ during lockdown of criminal charge

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New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI): A court here has acquitted a man, who was allegedly roaming around during the lockdown in May 2021, from the criminal charge of disobeying the order of a public servant, saying the charge was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The court observed that the analysis of material and crucial aspects showed “many a shortcoming” in the prosecution’s case.

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The court was hearing a case against Rajeev, who was accused of intentionally disobeying the curfew order of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Shalimar Bagh.

According to the prosecution, the accused was found “roaming around” near Azadpur Mandi on May 15, 2021, during the spread of covid-19 pandemic, without any permit for movement or a satisfactory reason.

“In my view, the accused cannot be convicted for the offence of section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal code as the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubts,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Neeti Suri Mishra said in an order passed earlier this month.

Therefore, in light of the facts, circumstances and evidence, the accused is acquitted, the judge added.

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The court said a sub-inspector, who testified against the accused, did not provide the daily diary (DD) entry to show or to prove that he was on patrolling duty on the said date.

This created a “reasonable doubt” about the proceedings conducted by the police official against the accused, the court said.

It said the police official concerned did not click any photographs of the accused to substantiate the allegations against him.

Besides, no other documentary evidence was brought on record to show that the accused was actually present on the spot or was not following the issued guidelines, the court said.

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“This lapse on the part of the police authorities creates a reasonable doubt in the investigation conducted by the police, thereby making the prosecution’s case highly doubtful,” the court said.

It also said while the onus to prove the guilt of the accused was entirely on the prosecution, the “discussion on the relevant material and crucial aspects,” showed that the prosecution’s case suffered from “many a shortcoming,” for which the benefit of doubt ought to be given to the accused.

The Mahendra Park police station had registered an FIR against Rajeev.

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