Karnataka High Court: Sreenivas Harish Kumar, J., disposed of the petition and modified the judgment of the appellate court.

The facts of the case are such the petitioner was driving KSRTC bus and thereby caused an accident by dashing against a private bus due to rash and negligent driving. The petitioner was tried in the Court of JMFC, Belthangady, for the offences punishable under Sections 279 and 337 of IPC, held guilty and sentenced to two months simple imprisonment and fine of Rs1, 000/- with default sentence period of 15 days imprisonment in relation to offence under Section 279 IPC i.e. Penal Code, 1860, and two months simple imprisonment with fine of Rs 500/- and a default sentence period of 15 days for the offence under Section 337 IPC. The appeal preferred before IV Additional District and Sessions Judge, Dakshina Kannada, Mangaluru, was also dismissed, and hence the instant revision petition was filed.

Counsel for petitioner Mr Keshava Bhat submitted that the photograph of the accident scene clearly shows that probably two buses collided with each other because of the width of the road being very narrow. In this view, a lenient view may be taken and the petitioner may be just subjected to fine with an observation that the conviction is not a stigma to his employment.

Counsel for respondent Mr K S Abhijith submitted that when there is no scope for appreciation of evidence, another view cannot be taken with regard to accident and there is no scope for reducing the quantum of sentence also.

The Court observed that the evidence shows that the accident occurred when two buses were taking turn in a curve, however because of consistent findings of both the courts below, I do not find it necessary to re-appreciate the evidence because there is no perversity in them.

The Court stated that the petitioner is a driver in the KSRTC. Examined whether there is scope for imposing fine only, section 279 IPC provides for sentencing the accused with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs.1,000/-, or with both. Similarly, section 337 IPC provides for sentencing an accused for imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs.500/-, or with both.

The Court thus held Therefore having regard to the sentencing structure provided in both the sections, I am of the opinion that the sentence may be confined to fine only instead of subjecting the petitioner to imprisonment. [Devendrappa H. v. State, Criminal Revision petition no. 1145 of 2021, decided on 17-01-2022]

Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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