Ask authorities to revist law on rash driving, SC tells AG

New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it hoped the Attorney General will impress upon authorities concerned to revisit the provisions of law pertaining to punishment for rash and negligent driving.

The court order came after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court that punishment for causing death due to rash and negligent driving is “inadequate and requires sterner handling”, including for those who talk on mobile phones or listen to radio while driving.

Rohatgi told a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan that Section 304-A — that provides for punishment for rash and negligent driving — covers all kinds of deaths caused by negligence and mere providing stricter punishment may not subserve the cause of justice.

He agreed that imprisonment of six months under Section 184 of the Motor Vehicle Act to people who cause accidents by talking on mobile phones while driving was also inadequate.

While Section 184 of the act provides for six months’ imprisonment, Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code provides for two-year jail for causing death due to rash and negligent driving.

“We appreciate the concern shown (by Rohtagi) and we are sure he will apprise the competent authorities to have a revisit of the relevant provisions (of the IPC and Motor Vehicle Act),” the court said in its order.

The court noted that the AG had stated in unequivocal terms that the manner in which the vehicular accidents take place require stern handling.

Rohatgi’s stand came in the course of hearing wherein the bench is examining suggestions given by the court in an earlier judgment for a re-look at Section 304-A because the punishment provided in it is absolutely inadequate in modern-day context.

The said judgment had expressed agony over the number of vehicular accidents in the country and how lakhs of people died or lost limbs in such accidents because of the attitude, behaviour and conduct of erring drivers, who harbour the notion that they are the monarchs of all they survey.

–IANS

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