Prominent lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani feels that the law in its present form is not adequate to deal with cases of drink driving. He told HT on Monday: “There is a lacuna in the law. It is not adequate to deal with cases of drink-driving. When the Indian Penal Code was drafted in the ’60s, people never imagined the monster cars we have today and the fatalities that could be resultant due to their misuse. There is a genuine need for amendments.”
Besides, Jethmalani said, in cases like that of Charu Khandal, where a person has been reduced to a vegetable due to sheer irresponsibility on the part of the offender, punishment for the accused should be increased.
“Because of rampant cases of drink-driving, there is a need to treat the cases categorically. If the offender, under the influence of alcohol, causes extremely grievous injuries like that to Charu, the offence should be made non-bailable. If not, then the sections pressed on the offender in this case are appropriately applicable,” said Jethmalani. The police said the medical reports of the accused, Manoj Netrapal Gautam, confirmed he was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Senior inspector Dilip Rupawate said: “We have booked Gautam under Indian Penal Code Sections 279 for rash and negligent driving, 337 for causing hurt, 338 for causing grievous hurt by act endangering life and Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act for driving under the influence of alcohol. Gautam was released on a surety of Rs 10,000 because these offences are bailable.”