Top Story HP HC acquits man accused of rash driving, upholds...

HP HC acquits man accused of rash driving, upholds JFMC verdict

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Shimla, Apr 28 (ILNS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court has dismissed the appeal of the state government, which challenged the acquittal of a person under Section 279 (rash driving) of IPC and Section 185 (drunken driving) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Vivek Singh Thakur upheld the November 7, 2008 order passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Court No 3, Shimla, in State vs Shankar Singh, acquitting the respondent-accused in an FIR registered against him in Police Station West Shimla.

The JMFC order was challenged by the State of Himachal Pradesh, which said that on November 25, 2006, at about 1930 hrs, the respondent-accused had caused accident by driving truck in a rash and negligent manner near Victory Tunnel and had hit the railing and pedestrian path. It further said that at the time of the accident, the respondent-accused was under the influence of alcohol.

As per the prosecution case, the respondent-accused was apprehended on the spot by Ankur Kanwar and Paras and was handed over to police. On the basis of statement of Ankur Kanwar, recorded under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, an FIR was registered and investigation was carried out. After completion of investigation, a challan was presented in the Court.

The respondent-accused said that he was not driving the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner, but the driver of another vehicle coming from opposite side with high speed, did not use dipper, causing obstruction to the vision of the respondent-accused, leading to the accident.

Justice Thakur noted that to prove allegation that respondent-accused was driving vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the prosecution has relied upon medical evidence as well as evidence of Dr Amita Bhatnagar.

So far as medical evidence is concerned, though it is claimed that blood and urine samples of respondent-accused were taken, however, the report of State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFSL) has not seen the light of the day, as it has not been referred to and exhibited in statements of either witness, rather Dr Bhatnagar has admitted that no such report is available on record.

Dr Bhatnagar has stated that the respondent-accused was brought to her with alleged history of alcoholic consumption, who, at the time of examination, was conscious, cooperative and well-oriented in time and place, observed the bench.

The Court further stated that Joginder Kumar, Head Constable Mechanic in Police Department, has admitted in cross-examination that at the time of inspection of vehicle, he had found that brakes of the vehicle were not working with further admission that in case of failure of foot brake, the vehicle would not stop. Further, one of the witnesses Sanjay Thakur in his cross-examination has admitted that vehicle involved in the accident was loaded with sand and its one tyre had gone into a pit, existing on the road, because of collapse of retaining wall.

From the evidence on record, the Court emerged on three versions .

(1) That respondent-accused was driving the vehicle under influence of alcohol in rash and negligent manner leading to the accident in question.

(2) That accident had been caused for existence of a pit on the spot caused due to collapse of retaining wall a vehicle went in pit for piercing light of vehicle coming from opposite side.

(3) Third, that accident had taken place for failure of foot brake.

The Court yesterday held that so far as influence of alcohol is concerned, prosecution has withheld scientific evidence, which would have established the quantum of presence of alcohol in urine and blood of the respondent-accused.

“In view of aforesaid facts and circumstances, it cannot be said with certainty that accident had taken place only for the reason as alleged by the prosecution. Thus, benefit of doubt is to be extended to the respondent-accused. I do not find any reason to interfere with the judgement passed by the Trial Court, acquitting the respondent-accused, ordered the Court. ILNS/SHV/RJ

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