Auto driver gets jail for sexual harassment

CHANDIGARH: A on Wednesday awarded imprisonment of 18 years to an auto driver in the case of and molestation of a fashion designer from Dehradun. The court pointed out that autos were becoming unsafe for women in Chandigarh and should be checked.

The court of Poonam R Joshi also imposed a fine of Rs 1.68 lakh on the convict — auto driver Mukesh Singh — of which 50,000 would go to the survivor as compensation.

The judgment said, “The autos, which run for the benefit of public, are becoming objects of crime, as many cases of rape by auto drivers have come to the knowledge of the court recently.”

The incident dates back to May 20, 2018, when the survivor came to Chandigarh for work. After having dinner at Sector 35, she had to go to Sector 42 to her friend’s house. At 2.30am, when she was near the roundabout of sectors 35 and 43, the auto driver came from Sector 35 side and said he would drop her to Sector 42. The woman sat in the autorickshaw.

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As per the FIR, the auto driver moved towards Sector 42 Attawa Chowk’s dark slip road and stopped the auto. He then started molesting the woman and when she retaliated, he assaulted her. The woman raised the alarm, following which a CTU bus that was passing by stopped and its driver and conductor rescued her.

Later, the Chandigarh Police felicitated the CTU staffers. Commenting on this, the court said the case shows two sides of a coin: while the auto driver assaulted the woman, the CTU staffers helped her.

On August 31, the same court had awarded “life imprisonment till natural death” to three persons in the infamous case of auto gang-rape of a call centre employee in Sector 29. The incident had taken place in December 2016. The court had then pointed out that that the case was a classic example of “the city peaceful becoming city unsafe.”

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