Air India Employee Assault Case: Delhi Court Discharges Former MP Ravinder Gaikwad

The Delhi Court Discharged Former MP Ravinder Gaikwad in Air India Employee Assault Case.

Background 

The accused claiming to be a Member of Parliament, Shiv Sena arrived by flight, Pune-Delhi. The passenger was holding a business class ticket and was traveling on an economy class seat 1F since the aircraft was an all economy class version. On arrival at Delhi Airport, the accused refused to deplane from the aircraft and wanted the Chairman, Air India to personally come and explain as to why he had to travel in economy class when he was holding a business class ticket. One of the ground handling (AISATS) officer Mr. Sukumar tried to persuade him to come out of the aircraft. The accused became violent with Mr. Sukumar, hitting him with his slipper and parked him outside the aircraft exit door. Other Air India staff members restrained the accused from causing further harm to Mr. Sukumar. 

Arguments 

Manoj Garg, Additional PP for State contended that the accused had been charge sheeted for the offenses under Sections 308/355 IPC and Section 201 IPC was added in the first supplementary charge sheet as the slipper which was the weapon of offense was not produced by the accused. 

The accused contended that ingredients of Section 308 IPC were not made out in the present case either from the FIR or the statements of the witnesses. The accused was a two time MLA and one time MP. 

He argued that there was no other pending matter or criminal case against him anywhere. The accused had booked a business class ticket in March 2017 from Pune to Delhi. He was calm, polite and did not create any ruckus at Pune Airport or in the flight and there were no statements to the contrary.

He contended that he was 62 years old and it could not have been possible for him to lift the complainant 10 feet high to throw him out and he could have only pushed him.

Decision 

The additional sessions judge Geetanjli Goel stated that it cannot be said, even prima facie, that the accused had done any ‘act’ which if it caused death would make him guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The prosecution, has thus not been able to show the existence, even prima facie of the essential ingredients of the offense under Section 308 IPC. 

The court said that non-production of the slipper by the accused after almost 4 ½ years of the alleged incident, when he was never asked for it earlier, cannot be construed as causing an evidence of the commission of offense to disappear, with the intention to screen the offender from legal punishment so as to attract Section 201 IPC. 

The court added that the accused cannot be made to suffer a charge for the offense under Section 201 IPC for the lackadaisical approach of the investigating agency. 

The court held that the offenses under Sections 308 and 201 IPC are prima facie not made out against the accused Ravinder Vishwanath Gaikwad and discharged him for the same.

The court further stated that the offense under Section 355 IPC is prima facie made out against the accused. Since the offense under Section 355 IPC is non-cognizable, the charge-sheet would be treated as a complaint under Section 2(d) of the Cr.P.C. and the police officer who has filed the charge sheet would be treated as the complainant.

Case title: State v. Ravinder Vishwanath Gaikwad 

Citation: CNR No.DLCT11-000532-2021

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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