High car speed not enough for rash & negligent act, says HC

NEW DELHI, Aug 10:
The Delhi High Court has quashed an FIR against a car driver in an alleged hit-and-run case, noting that the allegation of the offending vehicle being driven at a high speed does not on its own establish commission of a rash and negligent act.
Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri, while dealing with an FIR under sections 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304A (Causing death by negligence) of IPC, said the presence of a “rash and/or negligent act” in such cases was a “necessary ingredient” and in the present case, none of the witnesses claimed the car of the accused was driven in such a reckless manner that it was likely to cause injury to any person.
According to the FIR, the car of the petitioner, which “came at speed”, hit the deceased when he was crossing the road. It was claimed that due to the impact, the deceased fell down and the driver fled from the spot.
“This court as well has time and again taken the view that the allegation of offending vehicle being driven in a high speed/fast manner does not ipso facto establish commission of a rash and negligent act for the purposes of Sections 279/304A IPC,” said the court in its order dated August 5.
“The necessary ingredients of the offences charged are not made out and conviction of the petitioner is unlikely. Accordingly, the petition is allowed and the FIR in question along with the consequent proceedings arising therefrom are quashed qua the petitioner,” the court ordered.
The petitioner sought the quashing of the FIR against her on the basis of a settlement with the parties concerned as well as on the merits of the case.
Considering that the deceased was survived by his wife and five children –all major, the court directed the petitioner to pay additional compensation of Rs 6 lakh to the family.
The court noted that the petitioner has already made a payment of approximately Rs 10 lakh to the family of the deceased in terms of a settlement agreement between them.
Besides this, the family also received approximately Rs 6 lakh in the proceedings before the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal from the insurance company.
The petitioner contended that no ingredients of the alleged offences are made out against her and the statement of the alleged eye witness was also unreliable as there was a stark contradiction in his statement and the sister of the deceased.
“While the sister of deceased has stated that after the collision, the car had not stopped, the alleged eye witness claimed that the driver had stopped the car and looked back, when he saw the face of the driver as well as noted the number of car,” the court recorded.
The court said that in its prima facie opinion, the circumstances surrounding the recording of statement of the alleged eye witness, who ran a stall near the alleged crime scene, was “shrouded in suspicion” and his statement did not “inspire confidence”.
It also noted that upon mechanical inspection of the car, no damage was found on it indicating involvement in any accident. (PTI)