New Delhi: Expressing serious concern over increasing incidents of road rage by motorists, a Delhi court has sentenced two persons to 10 years in jail for battering a truck owner to death after his vehicle brushed past their car.
Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Kamini Lau ordered jail terms for Haryana residents Sukhvinder and Pradeep, besides imposing a fine of Rs one lakh on each of them for killing truck owner Jagbir and assaulting and grievously injuring Harbir and Sombir, the vehicle`s conductor and helper.
"Unfortunately in India, road rage which was initially rare, has now with acquisition of new economic wealth by many, become a frequent phenomena. With increased materialism, a scratch on one`s car has become more important than the life of another," said ASJ Lau.
"It is time that we in India recognise this aggressive behavioural rage as a mental issue which is a result of intermittent explosive disorder. Keeping in view a recent rise in road rage cases, not only imposition of heinous sections but a stricter punishment to those who take laws into their hands, is a need of hour.
"It is time to realise that exhibiting an improper rowdy behaviour and losing one`s temper can land one in a serious problem. A person who does not exercise any control over his emotions and bullies another on the road thereby taking law into his hands, does not deserve any leniency," the court said.
The prosecution case dated back to March 2007, when the accused had beaten the victims with sticks and kitchen knives at Neelwal village in West Delhi after the truck brushed past their car, leaving a few scratches on the car.
After battering the victims, the duo had left the spot. Jagbir, who had slipped into coma due to battering, died in the hospital.
The court said many countries including the USA have enacted special legislations to deal with the growing incidents of road rage where a person is killed over a petty issue, but in India there is no such law to deal with the menace.
Citing a recent study, it said majority of perpetrators of road rage incidents are young and less educated men who have criminal record, alcoholic or drug addicts and have suffered emotional or professional set back.
The court said the roads here are no longer safe with everyone on "short fuse" and many people have lost their dear ones to the rage of another.
The court also noted that the truck owner Jagbir and his two helpers were highly drunk at the time of the incident but said this does not give licence to anyone to kill him.
"No doubt the driver of the truck and others with him including the owner (deceased) were high on alcohol at the time of the incident, but does that give a licence to any person to take the law into his hands?
"A life has been lost in the incident and a family has lost its loved one, an able earning member for no fault," the judge said.
In its judgement, the court also said that the prosecution had miserably failed to establish that the accused had an intention to cause the death or severe injuries on victims.
"But it stood established that the act of the accused in giving repeated stick and knife blows to Jagbir was such that they were deemed to have knowledge that it was likely to cause death," the judge added.