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Law weak, drunk drivers on high

delhi Updated: Jun 10, 2010 23:55 IST
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If Dinesh Singh Tanwar (26), son of a rich politician, who mowed down a woman in south Delhi last week, allegedly in a drunken state, is at all convicted for the crime, he would be a free man within two

"Tanwar should have also
been booked for leaving
the victim to die.
But there is no specific
law to deal with it"

Rebecca John
Senior Avocate

He was anyway out on bail less than three hours after he was arrested for allegedly killing the mother of three young
children, who have now been lodged in a welfare home because they have no one to take care of them.

Drunken drivers are involved in one in every five accidents that happen in Delhi everyday. But in the absence of a stringent law, offenders are often booked under lenient sections like rash and negligent driving or at the most, causing death by negligence.

The maximum punishment under both the sections is two years of imprisonment. Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act deals with drunken driving but it is punishable by only six months. All the above sections are bailable.

Tanwar crashed his speeding convertible Mercedes into a taxi on Africa Avenue Marg in south Delhi on June 3. The accused fled the scene, leaving the woman who was later identified as Meenakshi alias Meenu (27), bleeding to death.


nSanjeev Nanda: On Jan 10, 1999, Nanda, then 21, crashed his BMW car into a police check post, killing three policemen and three homeless people.

n Alistair Pereira: On November 12, 2006, this 23-year-old ran over 14 people in Mumbai; 7 of them died.

n Gurmeet Singh: On March 30, 2008, Singh (28), grandson of former Punjab CM Darbara Singh, hit four labourers with his BMW car. He was drunk when the incident happened.

n Devender Singh: This 23-year old was returning from a wedding party in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar with four friends when he lost control of his car.

Her children have been sent to a welfare home as their father deserted them three years ago and there is no one to look after them.

“Tanwar should have also been booked for leaving the victim to die. But there is no specific law to deal with it,” said Rebecca John, a senior advocate.

If records are anything to go by, in at least 43 per cent accident cases, the accused are not even traced, leave alone arrested. Delhi Police had recently sent a proposal to the Ministry of Law to increase the punishment of death due to negligence from two to three years.

“It is always the poor who are killed in an accident. The law dealing with accidents needs to be more stringent where people do not get away within minutes of their arrest. It should be made a non-bailable offence,” said Ashok Arora, senior lawyer.

Police also claim that their hands are tied when it comes to booking such offenders. “Since they are bailable offences, we have to leave them within minutes,” said a senior police officer.