Motorists driving in South Delhi on Sunday were surprised to see a denimclad boy controlling traffic and helping the police wave down errant drivers under the scorching sun.
Deepak Gupta, 18, was rendering community service after a city court ordered the punishment last Tuesday in a first-of-its-kind sentence in the country. Community service sentences, very common in the West, is unheard of in India.
Metropolitan Magistrate Gautam Manan asked Deepak—who was arrested for drunken driving and without a licence—to render community service by managing traffic for 10 days beginning June 10. Deepak had told the court: “It was a mistake. I will not repeat it your honour.”
As Day 1 came to a close, he said: “I regret the incident. But this was a learning experience.” Deepak’s father RK Gupta, who watched his son on the road, said he was relieved that his son had received mild punishment and the court had not sent him to jail.
“Though standing in the sizzling summer sun for ten days is no mean punishment, the boy should consider himself lucky as the court could have sent him to jail for six months, where he would have been lodged in a dingy room with thousands of other prisoners,” Gupta said.