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14 years in prison for killing cow, 2 years if you kill people: Delhi Judge

New Delhi: A Delhi court judge, while announcing a two-year sentence to Utsav Bhasin – the son of a Haryana-based industrialist – in the 2008 BMW hit-and-run case, observed that “sentence for killing cow is five or seven or 14 years in different states, but in case of death of a human being caused by rash or negligent driving, sentence prescribed in law is only 2 years.”

Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Kumar expressed shock over the number of road accidents in India, saying, “I am compelled to observe that India has a disreputable record of road accidents.”

The judge noted that during 2015, a total of 4.64 lakh cases of road accidents were reported which rendered 4.82 lakh persons injured and 1.48 lakh deaths, according to National Crime Record Bureau.

“One is shocked to know the statistics about road accidents in our country. Every minute one accident takes place and every four minutes one person dies in road accidents.

“Human life is precious. Road users have a fundamental right to life and liberty which includes the right to safety under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is the duty of the state to ensure safety on roads of the people and it cannot shy away from its duty in any circumstance,” the judge said.

The Court also hoped that the Narendra Modi government will take steps to enhance jail term for causing death by negligence in road accidents, observing that the 1861 penal law provides inadequate prison term in such cases.

“This court hopes that when an advertisement of steps/ schemes taken by the government of India under the leadership of Narendra Modi on completing four years are published in 2018, then in steps taken by government, step of enhancing sentence for offence under section 304A of the IPC shall be included…”

The court ordered that a copy of its judgement be sent “to Narendra Modi to look into the sentence prescribed for offence causing death by negligence punishable under section 304 A of IPC. ‘Sabka saath sabka vikas’ is possible only when people do not die in huge number in road accidents.”

Referring to the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 on “Mann ki Baat” where he expressed concern about road safety stating that he was shocked to see the visuals of a recent road accident in Delhi in which the victim lay in a pool of blood for 10 minutes but nobody came for his help.

Alluding to slogan, “Sabka saath sabka vikas”, the judgement said that this goal can only be achieved when people do not die in accidents.

The court had on May 5 held Bhasin guilty of offences under sections 304A (causing death by negligence), 279 (driving rashly which could endanger human life) and 338 (causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code.

The court had while convicting him dropped the charges of 304(II)(culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC. Bhasin was driving his BMW car when he had hit the two-wheeler on Moolchand flyover in South Delhi, killing Anuj Singh on September 11, 2008. The TV channel journalist was also injured in the incident.

(With inputs from PTI)