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Madras High Court confirms conviction of a lorry driver in case booked for causing death of four passengers when the vehicle capsized

He had carried four passengers in the cabin and 20 more were seated on the building materials loaded in the lorry.

October 01, 2022 03:25 pm | Updated 06:02 pm IST - CHENNAI

A view of the Madras High Court Building in Chennai.

A view of the Madras High Court Building in Chennai. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Madras High Court has confirmed the conviction of a lorry driver in a criminal case booked against him for having caused the death of four passengers when the vehicle capsized while crossing a temporary bridge put up across the Tiruvaimoor irrigation channel at Kolappad-Tirukkuvalai Road in Nagapattinam district.

Justice G. Jayachandran however modified the quantum of sentence imposed on the driver Chakkravarthy from one year of simple imprisonment to two months of simple imprisonment. The leniency was shown since the convict’s driving licence had also been ordered to be suspended for a month after the accident.

The appeal had been preferred against a judgement passed by a Sessions Court in Nagapattinam in 2014 convicting the driver under four counts of Section 304A (causing death by negligence) of Indian Penal Code and ordering him to undergo one year of simple imprisonment for each count concurrently.

The appellant denied any negligence on his part and contended that the accident had occurred due to the improper laying of the temporary bridge using cement pipes and the sudden rains that had made the surface slushy and slippery. He argued that neither negligence nor rashness could be attributed against him.

On the other hand, Government Advocate (criminal side) N. S. Suganthan told the court that the lorry driver had travelled along with four persons in the cabin and 20 more persons seated on top of the building materials loaded in the vehicle despite knowing well that it was illegal to carry passengers in a goods vehicle.

The temporary bridge had been constructed across the irrigation channel because the regular road was being repaired. In such circumstances, the driver was expected to drive carefully but due to his negligent act, the vehicle capsized leading to death of four passengers after being crushed under the building materials.

Eight more passengers had suffered injuries in the accident, the Government Advocate said and insisted on confirming the conviction. The judge concurred with his submissions and said that he did not find any error in the trial court having found the appellant guilty of the charge levelled against him.

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