Quoting an excerpt from a Supreme Court judgment in a motor accident death case that ‘when automobiles have become death traps, any leniency shown to drivers who are found guilty of rash driving would be at the risk of further escalation of road accidents…', the Delhi High Court has dismissed a revision petition by a truck driver challenging a lower court judgment sentencing him to one year's imprisonment.
Truck driver Om Prakash had hit a scooter rider near Mori Gate in North Delhi. The man had later succumbed to his injuries. The Kashmere Gate police had booked him under Section 279 (rash driving) and 304A (causing death by negligence).
An eyewitness had stated in his police statement that the truck driver was driving the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner. However during the trial he changed his version during the cross-examination saying that he could not say whether the driver was driving the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner. He further said he was also not sure whether the driver was driving the vehicle at more than the fixed speed or at higher speed. He also stated that he did not know the meaning of laparwahi (negligence).
However, the eyewitness had testified in his examination-in-chief that he had seen the truck hit the scooter rider and drag the two-wheeler a few feet away. The eye-witness also admitted he had apprehended the driver and that the spot was photographed, which showed skid marks testifying to the high speed as well as the negligent and rash manner in which the driver was driving the vehicle.
The Metropolitan Magistrate Court had sentenced Om Prakash to six months' imprisonment under Section 279 and one year's imprisonment under Section 304A and later the Session Court had upheld the sentence in an appeal.
The driver had approached the High Court against the Session Court order.
Declaring the evidence of the eye-witness to the accident as clear and cogent, Justice Mukta Gupta dismissed the revision petition saying: “Therefore, in view of the facts and circumstances of the case and the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, I find no merit in the present revision petition.”