On Saturday night, when an apparently inebriated Nivedita Singh (31) allegedly hit an auto and killed two people—Raj Kumar (46) and Ved Prakash (53)—in Delhi Cantt, the Delhi Traffic Police, ironically enough, was in the midst of an anti-drink driving drive.
While 400 people were prosecuted for drink driving, Singh managed to slip past the barricades and checkpoints set up by the police across the city.
The drive was conducted between 9.30 pm and 1.30 am.
The accident at Gopinath Bazar in Delhi Cantt, Southwest Delhi, in which the auto-rickshaw driver (Kumar) and a passenger (Prakash) died, took place around 11.30 pm when the drive was in full force. Two others in the auto-rickshaw were also injured.
One-off or failure of the drive?
Senior traffic police officers say the incident was a one-off and not a failure of the drive. Delhi Traffic Police records show, more than 3,000 people have been prosecuted for drink driving this year. JCP (Traffic) Satyendra Garg said, “Unfortunately stray cases do happen, but we try to ensure that most offenders are caught.”
He added that Singh most likely did not pass through the checkpoints set up in Delhi Cantonment area. “We had a barricade at Gurgaon Road and Station Road Junction. Most probably she did not pass the checkpoint. If she had, we would have caught her, as there are no exceptions for female drivers. If the officer on duty thought she was not driving properly she would have been stopped.”
Drink driving cases are booked under either Section 19 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which states that the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) can disqualify people from holding a driving license or revoke the same if the person is a habitual criminal or habitual drunkard or a habitual addict to any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance as defined by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985.
Or, under different sections of the IPC if a person is injured or killed by a person driving under the influence of alcohol or any other psychotropic drugs.
Where are all such drives conducted?
According to Delhi Traffic Police, the drives are concentrated in and around five-star hotels, liquor vends, pubs and restaurants. “We concentrate more on areas like Connaught Place, Greater Kailash Part-I and other areas where there are number of restaurants and pubs,” added Garg.