Ker HC | There can be no prosecution under S. 185 of MV Act in the absence of alcohol detection test through breath analyser

Kerala High Court: V.G. Arun, J., while partly allowing the instant petition held that offence under Section 185 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 would be attracted only when alcohol content is detected through breath analyser test or in any other test including a laboratory test.

The petitioner was an accused of offences under Sections 279 and 337 of IPC and Section 185 of the MV Act. Allegation against the petitioner was that he had driven his car in a rash and negligent manner so as to endanger human life and had dashed against another car, resulting in the driver and passenger of the other car sustaining injuries. The petitioner was arrested and subjected to medical examination, upon which the doctor opined that the petitioner smelled of alcohol.

Contention of the petitioner was based on the ground that the offence under Section 185 would be attracted only if alcohol content was detected through breath analyser test.  The petitioner, while relying on Sagimon v. State of Kerala, 2014 SCC OnLine Ker 12726, contended that no such test having been conducted, the entire prosecution was illegal.

Noticing that the doctor’s certificate was with regard to the injuries sustained by the petitioner and others as a result of the accident and no mention was made about breath analyser test or any other test conducted for the purpose of finding the alcohol content in the petitioner’s blood the Court clarified as per Section 185, whoever, while driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle has in his blood alcohol exceeding 30 mg per 100 ml of blood detected in a test by a breath analyser or in any other test including a laboratory test, is liable for punishment. Therefore, in order to attract the offence under Section 185(a), the accused should have been subjected to a breath analyser or any other test including a laboratory test to ascertain that his blood found to contain alcohol exceeding 30 mg per 100 ml. Therefore, it was held that the petitioner could not be prosecuted and the petition was allowed to the limited extent of quashing further proceedings against the petitioner under Section 185 of the MV Act. [Manoj Kumar K. v. State of Kerala, Crl. MC. No. 4820 of 2020(B), decided on 08-01-2021]

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