Beautician Nooriya Haveliwala, who was jailed for five years for driving drunk and killing two people in 2010, has asked the Bombay high court for bail saying those appealing against jail terms of seven years or less were entitled to it.
Her lawyer Abad Ponda on Friday argued that the Supreme Court had said that bail could be granted if the sentence was short. Ponda submitted that in other cases where the jail term was for five years, the prosecution did not oppose bail for the accused while their appeal against the sentence was pending in a higher court.
However, in this matter since a police official had died they had taken it personally, Ponda argued.
Additional public prosecutor Usha Kejriwal accepted that the state doesn’t oppose bail in such matters. However, this case was a serious matter, she said.
Following the arguments, justice Abhay Thipsay said, “I don’t say it is not serious. But other cases that got publicity were more serious.”
The court observed that more people were killed in those incidents. In this context, the prosecution mentioned the Alistair Pereira case.
In 2006, Pereira, while driving drunk, had mowed down seven people who were sleeping on a pavement in Bandra and had injured eight others.
The state government had recently moved an application seeking an enhanced sentence of 10 years for Haveliwala for the January 29, 2010, incident in which she knocked down six people, two of whom died. One of them was a policeman
Haveliwala, too, had moved an appeal seeking bail and challenging the five-year rigorous imprisonment claiming the trial court had ignored evidence that could have gone in her favour.
Justice Thipsay said he would decide on the bail application first and maybe expedite the hearing of the appeal later.
Ponda, meanwhile, reiterated his arguments and contended that the driver whose taxi Haveliwala had allegedly hit first was not examined.
Moreover, the investigating officers had violated rules under the Bombay Prohibition rules which spell out the procedure for medical tests in drink driving cases, he claimed.
Ponda also pointed out that the breath analyser test recorded 457 mg per 100 ml and that anyone with so much alcohol in their bloodstream would be comatose.
The court will continue the hearing on Monday.