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Friday, May 18, 2012

Speeding vehicles, cynical attitude, License to Kill - is human life cheap !

Court reportedly observed recently that ‘people are licensed to drive – not to kill’.  In most cities, the no. of vehicles on road has increased manifold as people jostle for space.  People have to travel long distances to reach their workplaces. There is always the floating population, which has one work or the other in the city. All these are ordinary – the said part is that the concern for other road users, disciplined driving, following lane discipline and other  rules of the Road, giving way to heavy vehicles, caring for the pedestrians – are all becoming rarity or have vanished.  It is mad World out there are people drive madly cutting across lanes with scant regard for the lives of other users. 

An unexpected, sudden, accident is inevitable – but in many circumstances, rash and negligent driving contributes to an accident and in some ways they are not inevitable but man-made.

From ancient times, Homicide has been considered the most heinous of offences. The word homicide has been derived from the latin word ‘homo’ which means a man, and ‘caedere’ which means to cut or kill. Thus, homicide means the killing of a human being, by a human being. But then, not all cases of homicide are culpable as all systems of law do distinguish between lawful and unlawful homicide

A young class 7 student died for no fault of hers.  On 13th May 2012, tragedy struck a Bank official and his beloved 12 year old daughter.   In the city of Chennai,  H Shailaja, a resident of Dhandeeeswaran Nagar in Velachery, was returning with her father Hariharan, senior manager-foreign exchange with Canara Bank branch located in Spencer Plaza, after attending a wedding reception in Saidapet, when the collision took place.  It was not an ordinary accident - speeding biker, 21-year-old V Suresh,  rammed his two-wheeler against  the scooter, causing the death of the 12-year-old girl. 

The  driver Suresh was making his way in his `1.10 lakh Yamaha Fazer 150 cc bike from Besant Nagar Beach towards Guindy.  A resident of Mettupalayam in West Mambalam, he had failed his +2 examination and was helping his father Velusamy, a civil contractor handling multiple businesses, said Guindy investigation inspector Ramesh to Express. Suresh was trying to overtake other bikers, when he rammed his vehicle against Hariharan’s ‘Activa’ scooter from the rear near Raj Bhavan. Shailaja, who was eating ice cream, was thrown into the air in the impact and was caught under the rear wheel of a Puduchery-Chennai TNSTC bus proceeding to CMBT, the officer said.  How sad !

Crooks racing on the road occur especially in nights and roads like Beach road are quite vulnerable.  Sometime back there was an accident near Triplicane V House when racing bike killed a girl crossing the road, reading to altercation between the resident and the group of racers.  The 7th standard student in the recent incident was declared ‘brought dead’.  Suresh received a sound thrashing from members of the public and was taken to hospital for treatment.

He was arrested under Section 304-2 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder under 304(2) of IPC and produced before the Saidapet court, which remanded him to judicial custody.  Asked about increasing accidents and fatalities caused by speeding bikers, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sanjay Arora told Express that that the traffic police take continuous action during weekends.  Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic-South) V A Ravikumar said special teams conducted raids on Saturday and Sundays, looking for speeding bikes, especially between 5 am and 8 am on ECR and Labour statue and Gandhi statue on Kamarajar Salai. “The racers are booked, arrested and remanded,” he said. This is the first case in which an accused person in a bike-racing case has been booked under the section under the Guindy Traffic Investigation police jurisdiction.  (News source : the New Indian Express – Chennai edition)

Culpable homicide is a specific offence,  which involves the illegal killing of a person either with or without an intention to kill depending upon how a particular jurisdiction has defined the offence.   Under Sec.299 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),  it is defined as :- "Whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide."  Sec 304 speaks of culpable homicide being an offence.  Accused charged with Culpable homicide will not get bail. It is non-bailable.

Sure the driver needs to be punished for the heinous crime, but will the girl ever return and what an irreparable loss for her parents !!

Elsewhere on 5th May,  nearer the National Capital at Gurgaon, there was an hit and runaccident in which BMW car killed two people.   The handling of the case of Police has provoked public anger.    The 19 year old Suraj Sehrawat is stated to be at the wheels and public outcry is that there are attempts to botch the evidences.  Mr Sehrawat was in a BMW owned by his father, a car dealer with political aspirations, who lives in Gurgaon.  On the night of May 5, the BMW, reportedly racing at over 100 km per hour, collided with a Tata Indigo at the IFFCO Chowk intersection in Gurgaon. The car that was hit had five passengers: Kshama Chopra, three months pregnant; her parents and husband; and the car's driver. Kshama and the driver died. Her husband and her parents are in hospital.

The BMW had two people - Mr Sehrawat and his friend, a student named Daksh Jaiswal who has so far given the police conflicting accounts of who was driving the car. After the accident, an eye-witness took the other passengers of the Tata Indigo to hospital. That witness - crucial to the case- has not been traced by the police.    There are apprehensions that being powerful the owner is trying to get out of the clutches of the Law.    Meantime, a cinematic attempt reportedly was made by a person who works for the owner of the car alleging that he drove the car. Gurgaon court rejected the anticipatory bail application of Rajesh, who had claimed he was behind the wheel of the BMW car saying he need not be kept in custody as he was not the accused.  Many opine that he also should be punished for that attempt to botch the investigation.   There are also reports that Suraj does not have a valid driving licence and his father tried to shield him from legal action by shifting the blame on to Rajesh.

Commoners apprehend that there has been delay in investigation and process of prosecution, perhaps intentionally made to allow the highly placed BMW owner to escape.   Life even if it be that of a man on street, is not cheap and proper justice must be delivered is what everyone wants.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
17th May 2012.

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