Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court: In an appeal filed by State of Maharashtra (appellants) challenging the acquittal order passed by Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Tagaon for Kuldeep Subhash Pawar (respondent) for being charged for being responsible of the death of the bicycle driver and one bullock, S M Modak, J., upheld the decision of the Trial Court for want of evidence, because even the Trial Court could not conclude about rash and negligent driving by the respondent.

The Respondent is driver of Tata Sumo jeep which allegedly dashed to the bullock cart and to the bicycle at an early hour of the day i.e., 8.30 a.m. on a public road. The first informant was driving his bullock cart whereas another man, Balaso Krushna Mane, resident of village Uplavi was driving bicycle. The accident was informed to the police and the investigation was conducted.

FIR was registered for the offence punishable under Sections 279, 337, 338, 304-A of Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and under Section 134 of the Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act). As per five trial witnesses, there is confusion as to the direction of the vehicles, location of the accident and thus, the Trial Court acquitted the accused for want of proper evidence.

The Court remarked that “I am trying to understand the direction as per documentary evidence and the oral evidence. We have tried to understand it from various angles, but we could not arrive at a particular conclusion about what the directions are.”

The Court noted that it is strange state of affairs, when such matters are conducted neither the Investigating Officer has prepared a map/rough sketch, nor trial court has taken pains in recording directions correctly in the evidence. If there is some confusion, the trial Court could have clarified it from the witnesses by putting questions which are permissible by law.

Thus, the Court concluded that the consequence of the accident is the death of the one bullock and the bicycle driver. However, for want of evidence, the Trial Court could not conclude rash and negligent driving by the respondent. The Court is unable to come to any conclusion for the above reasons.

The Court held that there is no alternative and confirmed the findings of the Trial Court.

[State of Maharashtra v Kuldeep Subhash Pawar, 2023 SCC OnLine Bom 762, decided on 03-03-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. N.B. Patil- APP for the Appellant-State;

Mr. Aashish Satpute- Appointed as amicus curiae for the Respondent.

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