New Delhi: A Delhi court has acquitted a bus driver of the charges of rash and negligent driving leading to a death of an auto driver, saying that driving at a high speed does not amount to rash or negligent driving.
Observing that "high speed" does not bespeak of either "negligence" or "rashness" by itself and is a relative term, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pritam Singh said, "None of the witnesses examined by the prosecution could give any indication, even approximately, as to what they meant by 'high speed'."
"It was for the prosecution to bring on record material to establish as to what is meant by 'high speed' in the facts and circumstances of the case," the magistrate said.
Holding that no criminality can be presumed, the court said, "In the absence of any material on the record, no presumption of "rashness" or "negligence" could be drawn.
"In view of the above discussions and relying upon the above rulings, I am of the considered view that prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubts the charge for offences under section 279 (rash driving), 337(causing hurt by act endangering life of others) and 304 A (causing death by negligence)of IPC against the accused," the court said while acquitting the bus driver Rajpal.
Court also rapped the Delhi police for not showing the skid marks on the site plan of the accident in which the offending bus allegedly dragged the auto-rickshaw.
"The investigating agencies were not investigating such accidents in a proper and scientific manner. The site plan which was produced was of a very unsatisfactory nature. The result and consequence of which was that even those persons who might have been guilty for having committed offences under section 279, 304A of IPC were being acquitted on the basis of benefit of doubt or lack of evidence," the court said.
According to prosecution, on January 4, 2002, the accused Rajpal was allegedly driving a bus at a high speed and had hit an auto-rickshaw at Badarpur area.
The impact of the accident was such that the offending bus dragged the auto-rickshaw to some distance and its driver Umesh came under the wheels of the bus while a passenger suffered injuries.