Accidents – a sight for sore eyes are no longer as uncommon as they were a decade back. Today, the rate of accidents in our country is rapidly rising; statistic shows that 377 people die every day in road accidents with almost 1214 crashes every day. Most of the accidents occur due to Rash and Negligent driving by the drivers of vehicles. Motor Vehicles that came into our lives as a boon are now taking the form of a curse to society. In the year 2013, 1,37,000 people died in road accidents. India has not even lost these many soldiers in all of its wars combined.
So, two norms have to be followed while on roads. First, be careful on the road whenever you are not on a vehicle always be careful as the accident would be caused due to the negligence of another but ultimately loss of life and health would be your own. Secondly, whenever driving a vehicle, always be utmost careful and drive with full caution as your smallest hurry would result in grave disaster for the life of another.
Lawson Rash and Negligent Driving:-
A person who causes death due to his own negligent acts while he is driving is liable in Section 304A of Indian Penal Code which states as “Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
So, if a person causes death by his negligent acts, he/she may be punished for 2 years or will be fined or both. It is a cognizable offence i.e police can arrest the culprit without arrest warrants. But it is bailable i.e. accused can file a bail application. This offence is non-compoundable i.e. it cannot be settled out of court. FIR has to be lodged with the police for offence and hence state will try the accused in court. The victim in this accident can always request the court for compensation under Section 357A of CrPC under which accused is made liable to pay compensation to the victim.
Not only causing accident is offence in India even driving rashly on the road is also an offence in Indian Penal Code, so law gives a wide bracket as to punish those individuals who have still not caused accidents but are likely to cause so, rash driving offence is generally not reported, it is observed by police posts and individuals are charged with the same. However, FIR can also be lodged with the police. Provisions for Rash Driving are as follows:-
Section 279 IPC states “Whoever drives any vehicle, or rides, on any public way in a manner so rash or negligent as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”
Section 336 IPC states “Whoever does any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred and fifty rupees, or with both.”
The offence of rash driving can be covered under both the sections and individual can be prosecuted and punished accordingly. Both the offences of rash driving are cognizable and bailable.
Causing hurt to another party due to the acts of another is also an offence. Accidents due to negligence which cause hurt are also covered under this.
As Section 337 IPC states “Whoever causes hurt to any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.”
And when grievous hurt is caused Section 338 IPC comes into action as it states “Whoever causes grievous hurt to any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”
FIR cannot be lodged under these offences but police have to be intimated and hence will start legal proceedings. Both of these offences are non-cognizable which means court has to issue the warrant of arrest but are bailable, both these offences are compoundable that is by the permission of court both the parties can reach on a settlement to overlook the hurt caused due to offence, but it can be compounded by the part who have endured hurt.
So, points to be noted are that a person in rash driving can be punished maximum for 6 months and not more than that. Punishment of two different sections cannot be combined and extended, and fine will be maximum up to Rupees 1000. In death due to accident, a person can be punished maximum for 2 years. A person is not liable if the hurt or death is caused due to consequences of the third party or in case of an inevitable accident where it was unable to foresee and by even taking reasonable care it could not be prevented. If a person smashes through somebody and the victim suffers injuries then the person is liable, but if accused smashed in a building and a chunk of rock fell over the victim then the accused is not liable.
“May 10 criminals walk free but an innocent should not be punished” with this quote we understand that extent of our liability and a person should not be punished other than his offences and unreasonably.