33-year-old doctor accused of assaulting a male patient acquitted on evidence of PPE kit
Mumbai: Providing relief to a doctor accused of sexually assaulting a male COVID-19 patient, the court acquitted the doctor of the charges, after the complainant stated before the court that the doctor was wearing a PPE kit.
The complainant, who was apparently working as the Human Resource Head of a Mumbai hospital was admitted to the ICU ward of the same hospital in May 2020 after he developed symptoms of COVID-19 The complainant alleged that the doctor came to check on him and touched him inappropriately when he was deep in sleep and was not feeling well. He raised an alarm and the nurse and two doctors on duty said they would see what had happened.
However, during the course of a trial, the patient did not support the prosecution's case in court. In his evidence before the court, the patient said he was asleep when the doctor on duty who to came to check him touched his body, and the same was "abnormal touch". He said the doctor was wearing a PPE kit, so he did not know who that doctor was.
The patient also told the court that he cannot say what was "abnormal" in the activities of the said doctor.
The court in its order said it is required to note that the victim has not disclosed what type of sexual abuse happened to him and whether it was at the hands of the accused. The court in its order said the evidence in the case is "not inspiring confidence" that the accused has done such an act which is likely to spread the infection of coronavirus.
Moreover, as per the victim's evidence, the doctor who came to examine him was wearing a PPE kit, the judge noted.
"If the incident mentioned in the FIR is considered, it creates doubt whether any person after removing PPE kit can commit such type of an act during the surge of COVID-19," the court held.
The judge said the documents and evidence are "not inspiring confidence" that the accused had indulged in such type of an act "negligently and malignantly" which is likely to spread the infection of the coronavirus.
Metropolitan Magistrate (Mazgaon court) Pravin Modi acquitted the 33-year-old doctor on March 22 and the detailed order was made available on Monday.
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