You Be The Judge

Auto Taking You for a Ride? It’s Abduction!

A  recent news article carried yet another horror story of auto-rickshaw-driver-terror. A woman and child insisted on being ferried home and got into the vehicle. To teach the duo a lesson, the driver took them on a long detour, scaring them and adding to their agony. The ordeal ended with the passengers reaching their destination at long last and the driver being mildly penalised and allowed to go. The issues here are: Was the driver entitled to create panic? Was the fact that the passengers were safe at the end, a compensating factor? Was his ‘punishment’ adequate or appropriate? Were the police complicit in letting the abductor go? Should they be punished as well? You be the judge.

We believe that this was nothing short of abduction, unlawful restraint and terrorising. The penalty—imprisonment—can be as long as seven years, (Sectio 362+ of the IPC). The cops aided and abetted through dereliction of duty and filing incomplete reports, violating the Police Act. Now, you be the judge.


Currency Notes from Chemicals?


A woman walks into a police station with a complaint. She has, she claims, been cheated of Rs25 lakh and she wants her money back. She wants the police to help her. What is her story? The interesting part begins here.

The woman is a doctor and one does not become a doctor without some intelligence. How then was she duped? The good doctor met three conmen who had some ‘special’ chemicals that could produce duplicate currency notes, no less. Yes, the same notes that we normal, unlucky humans work our butts off to buy the next square meal! The lucky doctor had visions of minting money—literally. All she needed to do was pay ‘just 25 lakh rupees’ to this alchemist, which she promptly did. After all, opportunity never knocks twice. However, the three conmen kept on stringing her along for months when the doctor realised it was a con. Should the police register this complaint? Should they follow it up? Must an FIR be lodged? You be the judge.

The problem revolves around the law relating to contracts in India. An important point to be noted is that no one can enter into a contract that is illegal in the eyes of the law. One cannot agree to a contract to steal from a third person. Or to make life miserable for someone. Even trying to break up a marriage is illegal. So, if one asks someone else to create friction between a husband and wife, it is breaking the law. Simply put, two or more people cannot agree to do something, in other words enter into a contract, to carry out an illegality. The contract is void Ab initio, meaning from the start.

Now, the doctor enters into a contract with the ‘chemical specialist’ and pays him a sum of money, called ‘consideration’. The contract is complete. But printing money, or trying to print it, is a serious offence; even if the equipment did not work. The intention of duplicating money is attempted forgery of the highest degree. The very act of trying to do so is punishable. The term is up to seven years plus a fine. So does one go to the police and complain that she was duped in a patently criminal process? Well, the cops should have arrested the doctor for a crime. The police are guilty of dereliction of duty. They, too, should be asked to explain their conduct rather than everyone laughing it away. What you do think? You be the judge. Write to us.

A New Column on Real-Life Legal Situations

Laws that govern our rights, life and liberty are complicated. We become aware of them only when we have a brush with them. One way to increase our awareness of the various laws is by discussing real-life cases. This is exactly what Bapoo Malcolm, a conscientious practising lawyer in Mumbai, will do—beginning with this issue. We invite readers to share their thoughts on each of the items because, as Bapoo says, “You be the Judge”. Email us at [email protected] or [email protected] – Editor

rajiv patel
9 years ago
Very interesting and informative. Looking forward to continued series of this column.
Veeresh Malik
9 years ago
Interesting series, thank you for taking this up.

1) In the auto-rickshaw episode, in a perfect world, the auto-rickshaw driver would be totally to blame. However, it is not a perfect world, so more needs to be disclosed - why, for example, did the passengers not raise an alarm while they were being abducted? Also, more importantly, who were the authorities responsible for issuing a licence to the said driver and auto-rickshaw in the first case, and what would be their accountability for this - as in the case of the RTO officials in jail in Delhi for the Nirbhaya bus rape case.

2) This is clearer, the doctor and the currency - where did she generate so much cash from, is the first question. The other points made by Malcolm ji are spot on. The police should have brought in their own Economic Offence's people as well as the Income Tax Department and maybe even their own Money Laundering section.

Once again, thank you for this brilliant effort,

Veeresh Malik
Suiketu Shah
9 years ago
Great initiaive Mr Basu.Great great work my moneylife.
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