New Delhi: A Delhi court has set aside the conviction and 10-month jail term of a DTC bus driver held guilty for negligently driving and causing death of a passenger in 2001, saying the magisterial court had "overlooked" the contradictions in testimony of witness.
Additional sessions judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma allowed the appeal of Dharambir against the 2012 order of a magisterial court which had convicted him for the offences of negligently driving (section 279) and causing death by negligence (section 304A) under the IPC.
The judge also set aside the May 2014 order of the magistrate sentencing him to ten months in jail.
"While convicting the appellant and awarding the sentence, the magistrate had grossly failed to properly appreciate the evidence so adduced by the parties appearing before it," the judge said.
The court added that the eyewitness' testimony on which the magistrate had "solely" relied was full of contradictions.
"I have no hesitation in holding that the prosecution had miserably failed to even establish his (witness) presence at the spot, hence it was not safe for the trial court to have based the conviction solely on the bald testimony of the said witness," the judge said.
The court, while acquitting Dharambir, noted that there was a gap of one year and seven months between the order on conviction and sentence and "the judgement could not have been applied by the magistrate in retrospective manner".
According to the appeal filed by south Delhi resident Dharambir, the trial court had wrongly relied on the testimony of the eyewitness, whose presence could not be established by the prosecution.
An FIR was lodged against Dharambir by a head constable who had alleged that on October 2, 2001, he was driving the bus in a rash and negligent manner and because of Umashankar Rai, who was about to de-board the bus, fell down on the road and got crushed under its wheel.
The trial court in October 2012 convicted Dharambir of the offences and it awarded him the jail term in May.
In his appeal, Dharambir submitted that he had applied sudden brakes because a vehicle came in front of him.
At that moment, the victim all of sudden and without informing him or the conductor jumped out of the bus even before the vehicle could reach the bus stand, he had said.
He had further said that he was falsely implicated by the police by producing a false eyewitness.