The High Court of Bombay in the case of Popat Bagiananth Kesar v State of Maharashtra passed a Judgment dated 16.04.2019 whereby, the Court held that driving a vehicle at a high speed in thickly populated and busy road is considered rash and negligent driving.
In the above case the Applicant was speeding in a busy road which lead to the death of a seven-year-old boy for which the Applicant was convicted under Section 304A and Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as amended thereof (the Code). The Trial Court in its Judgment dated 13.03.2006 convicted the Applicant under the following provisions:
- Awarded sentence of one year for the offence punishable under Section 304A of the Code and
- Inflicted one-month imprisonment for the offence under Section 279 of the Code and
- Awarded a sentence of one month and fine for the offence under Section 184 and 183(1) of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 as amended thereof (the Act)
Later, upon an appeal to lower Appellate Court, the Applicant was acquitted for the offence under Section 279 of the Code and Section 184 of the Act. However, the lower Appellate Court approved the conviction of the Applicant for the offence punishable under Section 304A of the Code and punishment was reduced from one year to three months imprisonment.
Soon after, the Applicant filed a Review Petition before the Bombay High Court challenging the said Judgement dated on 21.12.2006. Herein the High Court observed that even though speeding of the vehicle is one of the factors that indicate that the driver was driving in the most rash and negligent manner but it is not the sole criteria to determine that there is negligence or rashness on the part of driver as it always depends on facts and circumstances of each case. But in this case the driver had the knowledge that the place of occurrence of the accident was heavily populated and that it was a busy road but he still drove the vehicle at a high speed. Thus, the Court held such an act to be rash and negligent under the Code.
5th year student, Mar Gregorios College of Law, Kerala