Punishment for driving dangerously by using mobile phones while driving, inadequate

Supreme Court: In pursuance of the order dated 26.08.2016 on the issue relating to inadequate punishment under Section 304-A IPC, Mukul Rohatgi, the Attorney General submitted that Section 304-A covers all kinds of deaths by negligence and, therefore, mere providing of higher punishment may not sub-serve the cause of justice. Elaborating further, he said that when a broken wall falls and someone gets injured or a person dies, Section 304-A is also attracted.

The Attorney General also submitted that some people drive while putting their mobile phones in the ears as a consequence of which disastrous consequences take place and the effect is the person gets into misery or he causes miseries to others. It was further mentioned that sometimes, people who drive while using mobile phone are booked under Section 184 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 which provides for imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to Rs. 1000 in case of commission of offence for the first time. He submitted that the said provision is not sufficient for adequate handelling of the situation in praesenti and asked the Court to list the matter on 06.12.2016.

Showing grave concern over the vehicular accidents that extinguish the life-spark of many because of the whim and fancy, adventurism of the men at the wheel and harbouring of the notion that they are “larger than life”, the Court said that it is a matter of common knowledge that the drivers drive because of their profession but there are individuals who drive the vehicle because of their uncontrolled propensity for adventure. They really do not care for the lives of others. It can be stated with certitude that the number of vehicles in the country has increased in geometrical manner and the people are in a competition to pick up the speed.

The Bench of Dipak Misra and C. Nagappan, JJ had asked the Attorney general to assist the Court and had said that Section 304-A IPC requires to have a re-look because the punishment provided therein is absolutely inadequate in the context of the modern day. [Abdul Sharif v. State of Haryana, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 865, decided on 21.09.2016]

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