THE BLUELINE driver arrested for Sunday’s bus accident in the Capital that killed seven people and injured nine has been charged under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), a non-bailable offence.
If convicted under this section, he can get a minimum sentence of 10 years, or life imprisonment. Senior police officers said this was probably only the third incident where a driver has been arrested under this section for killing people while driving. The other two cases include the infamous BMW case and the other when a school bus fell into the Yamuna after crashing into a bridge railing. Later, the section was converted to 304 A. As a practice, the police usually book the drivers under section 304 A (causing death due to a rash and negligent act), an offence that is bailable, attracting an imprisonment up to two years.
Even in the case of Bluelines where speed governors were tampered with, although drivers are arrested, they are back behind the wheel once out on bail within hours. The bus owners, too, get away. Senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi said that removing the governor is dangerous, and it is clear that the driver and owner know that they are committing culpable homicide.
“Since governors were installed after noticing large number of deaths on account rash driving, it can be assumed that the vehicle was intended to be driven in a rash and negligent manner,” he added.
“The investigation should be credible enough to meet the ingredients of the law, otherwise the section imposed can never be justified and at the time when charges are framed the accused will get away,” said Kiran Bedi, Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development.
The only deterrent for the owner is that the bus is impounded. “The owners should be held responsible and arrested if they have any knowledge of tampering that is putting other lives at risk,” she added.