Supreme Court bats for stronger law against rash driving
The Supreme Court has called for a more stringent law and harsher punishment for rash and drink driving, saying no leniency should be shown to drivers who kill or maim people.india Updated: Mar 31, 2015 00:37 IST
The Supreme Court has called for a more stringent law and harsher punishment for rash and drink driving, saying no leniency should be shown to drivers who kill or maim people.
Indian roads are among the most dangerous in the world -– 15 people are killed in accidents in an hour. Delhi tops the list of fatal accidents among Indian cities.
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra said Monday there was a “non-challant” attitude among the drivers who drove drunk.
“In such obtaining circumstances, we are bound to observe that the lawmakers should scrutinize, re-look and re-visit the sentencing policy in Section 304A, IPC,” it said.
Both rash and drunk drivers are generally charged under section 304A, which comes with a maximum punishment of two years in jail.
“Drunkenness contributes to careless driving where the other people become their prey. The poor feel that their lives are not safe, the pedestrians think of uncertainty and the civilized persons drive in constant fear,” the bench said.
The court allowed the Punjab government’s appeal against a court order that had reduced the punishment of a driver.
Two persons were killed when a car driven on the wrong side by Saurabh Bakshi rammed into their vehicle in 2007.
Found guilty of rash and negligent driving, Bakshi was to serve a year in jail but the Punjab and Haryana high court reduced ordered his release after 24 days.
Sentencing Bakshi to six months, the SC said the high court’s decision to release the driver after he had paid R85,000 to the families of the dead would shatter public’s faith in the judicial system.
“A man with the means has, in possibility, graduated himself to harbour the idea that he can escape from the substantive sentence by payment of compensation,” justice Misra said.
The judgment coincides with the trial of actor Salman Khan, accused of killing a pavement dweller and injuring four while driving his Toyota Land Cruiser under the influence of alcohol in September 2002.
The actor told a Mumbai court on March 27 that he was not drunk and nor was he behind the wheel. On Monday, the claim was corroborated by his driver, Ashok Singh, who said he was the one driving the SUV.