Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sending a drunk pillion rider to jail

For some time now, the Mumbai police has been waging an intense campaign against drunk driving, including the use of jail time (anywhere from 1 day to multiple days) as part of the measures against drunk driving. This had surprised many people since observing traffic laws (including road safety laws such as not drinking and driving) is a common problem that India faces, and not too many states had done serious prosecution of such cases (contrast this with the measures taken in states such as Singapore and the United States where you better not be caught drinking and driving). The high number of cases of accidents and fatalities where drunk driving is a factor are incredible; it is absolutely necessary that such campaigns continue.
Here is a case in Mumbai where the police prosecuted a drunk motorcyclist as well as the pillion rider for the crime of drunk driving and got them sent to simple custody for a period of 7 days. This punishment is the longest period of punishment for the crime of drunk driving so far in Mumbai, and the terms of the punishment were also enhanced due to a fine as well as the driving license of the motorcyclist being suspended for a period of 6 months (link to article):

A Girgaum metropolitan court on Monday sentenced a pillion rider to seven days' imprisonment for abetting drunk driving. This is the longest sentence awarded in such cases so far. "The biker too got the same punishment. Both were in an inebriated state,'' an official said. The drunken duo, Abdul Karim and Kadir Shaikh, was also asked to pay a fine of Rs 2,000. The driving licence of Karim, who was riding the bike, has been suspended for six months by the court. The two will now have to cool their heels in the Byculla jail for a week.
Tests showed 245 mg of liquor in Karim's blood and 83 mg of liquor in Shaikh's blood. Shaikh was booked under Section 188 of the Motor Vehicles Act,'' a policeman said. "We argued in court that Shaikh had not stopped Karim from riding the bike despite being aware that the latter was drunk and could cause an accident,'' sub-inspector P K Naik of Tardeo traffic division said. Abetting drunk driving attracts the same punishment as the offence of drunk driving (Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act). No lawyer represented the duo in court.

Drunk driving not is a menace to society because of the danger to others, but also threatens the drunk drivers themselves; who can forget the cases in Delhi where many young adults have been needlessly killed when their cars (being driven by drunk people) have crashed at high speeds. The nation can ill afford these losses.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 10:38 AM