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Uber rape case: SC sets aside order to re-examine victim

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

On Thursday, Supreme Court sets aside an order to re-examine the victim and a dozen other witnesses in the Uber cab rape case, underpinning the accused driver sought to abuse the judicial process.

A bench of Justices JS Khehar and Adarsh K Goel permitted the appeals moved by the victim and the Delhi Police

 Police take away rape accused taxi driver Shiv Kumar Yadav
Police take away rape accused taxi driver Shiv Kumar Yadav

against the order of the Delhi High Court to allow the accused examine the girl and 12 others one more time.

Lifting the stay on the trial proceedings, the bench instructed the trial court to expeditiously conclude the case. It held there was no valid ground to recall the victim and other witnesses and that the counsel for the accused had already been given ample opportunity in league with the law to examine them.

On the last date of hearing, the bench had pulled up accused Shiv Kumar Yadav, saying he was trying to “destroy the criminal justice system” by asking for re-examination of the victim, who had been “embarrassed and insulted” by him in her deposition earlier.

“You are in a way trying to destroy the criminal justice system of this country. You are saying let this person sit on our head. You are trying to say that the criminal should be honoured and he should get everything he wants,” it had observed.

The court added: “For three days, you only embarrassed her. You only insulted her. We feel you have all nonsense at your hand. For three days what did you do, except humiliate the prosecutrix who made the allegations?”

The bench made the observations while hearing the pleas filed by the victim and Delhi Police, which urged the court to quash the order of the Delhi High Court on March 4, which allowed the accused to recall the victim and 12 other witnesses.

The victim, in her petition, said the HC order amounted to a virtual re-trial and she was made to bear the agony and humiliation of taking the witness box once again. The police described this as a “delaying tactic” by a “seasoned criminal.” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Delhi Police, had supported the victim’s appeal against the high court order, allowing the recall of witnesses.

“He is not a novice. This accused has faced criminal trials earlier. There are three rape cases, including the present one, against him. In addition to these, there are several other cases in Uttar Pradesh. The idea is to show that the accused is familiar with the court proceedings,” Rohatgi said.

While reserving its verdict, the court last month observed that Yadav appeared to be a “master” in playing legal tricks and that he had done a lot of planning to delay the trial and demolish the case of the prosecution.

It also said the delay of several months in the trial has caused to unnecessary harassment of the victim, as it is a very painful experience for her to depose again and again. The accused has misused the process of law, added the bench. It said it may set guidelines as to whether an accused has the right to get witnesses recalled for re-examination in a criminal trial.

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Uber Incorporates Several Changes to its App for Drivers to Improve their Experience

Earlier in May, ride-hailing drivers in cities across the US went on strike to protest unfair pay, poor working conditions and lack of transparency from Uber

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Uber, bengaluru
Photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (VOA)

Amid rising tensions over workers rights, global ride-hailing major Uber has incorporated several changes to its app for drivers to improve the experience for both newer as well as seasoned drivers.

Uber is testing out several new features for drivers, including a scrolling feed of promotions and gamified ‘quests’ that would be viewable before drivers sign in to start driving, The Verge reported on Thursday.

For newer drivers, there would be a ‘simulated trip’ to walk them through the virtual steps of their first ride before they commit to actually picking up passengers.

The update on Uber’s app comes at a time when ride-hailing drivers are supporting legislation in California that would reclassify them as employees rather than contractors.

The app would also give notifications to drivers for longer than average trips.

Uber app.

When drivers need to cancel a trip, the app would allow them to specify the reasons why – while a new feature would automatically accept the next trip to help the drivers earn the ‘consecutive trip’ bonus paid out by Uber, the report said.

Critics have dismissed these ‘gamified’ features as psychological tricks meant to keep drivers on the road longer.

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However, Uber argues that these features are popular with drivers because they often put more money in their pockets.

Earlier in May, ride-hailing drivers in cities across the US went on strike to protest unfair pay, poor working conditions and lack of transparency from Uber. (IANS)