Cases, victims’ woes drag on | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Cases, victims’ woes drag on

As Ruchika Mittal (37) read the news about the Nooria Haveliwala drink-driving case, she relived the horror of January 1, 2006, when an inebriated lawyer had rammed his car into the taxi she was travelling in.

mumbai Updated: Feb 01, 2010 01:30 IST
Neha Bhayana

As Ruchika Mittal (37) read the news about the Nooria Haveliwala drink-driving case, she relived the horror of January 1, 2006, when an inebriated lawyer had rammed his car into the taxi she was travelling in.

Both Mittal and the taxi driver suffered serious injuries and are still waiting for justice. “We have not received any compensation nor has the lawyer been punished as the trial is still pending,” said Mittal, who runs two event management companies.

Mittal’s hipbone was crushed in the accident. She had to walk with crutches for two years and could not work during this period. “I had married a year before the accident and was planning to have children. Now I can’t.”

Reacting to Director General of Police A.N. Roy’s comment that he would request the government to make the laws for drink-driving more stringent, Mittal said, “When a policeman is killed, they talk about amending the law. But when thousands of ordinary people like me are killed or injured, no one cares,” she said.

The trial in Mittal’s accident case is pending and her claim for compensation is yet to be decided by the Motor Accident Compensation Tribunal. “There has been no hearing yet. Every time, the judge just gives a new date,” she said.

Countless accident victims like Mittal are waiting for justice. “There were 1.25 lakh pending accident cases in Maharashtra and 35,000 in Mumbai four years ago,” said lawyer M.B. Kotak.

Pointing to the poor implementation of laws, he said, “Courts take matters very lightly. The law requires the court to pass an order within 45 days. But on average, it takes 20 to 40 years to get compensation.”

An eight-year-old boy, left disabled after a car hit him in 1978, is still fighting for compensation. “The court granted Rs 4 lakh in compensation when the father had spent Rs 80 lakh. Their appeal is still pending,” he said.


Crime and punishment

The death of his daughter, Sheetal, in 2000, still haunts Borivli resident, C.J. Kotchar. A speeding tanker had hit into a scooter that Sheetal (25) was riding pillion on. Two years later, the tanker driver was sentenced to one year in jail. Kotchar’s plea for enhancement of punishment was dismissed by the high court.

In a letter written to HC chief justice, Kotchar said, “I fail to understand why uncalled for and unjustified leniency” was shown to the accused when the maximum punishment for rash and negligent driving is two years’ rigorous imprisonment.