Chennai: The Madras High Court has said it cannot issue directions imposing severe punishment on persons involved in drunken driving as amending sections of the Motor Vehicle Act 1998 for this purpose was a legislative exercise.
"Amending the sections of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, for imposition of more severe punishment is a legislative exercise and in that sense, no direction can be issued by the court," the first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, said.
The bench was disposing of a PIL by one K K Ramesh, seeking severe punishment to those involved in drunken driving.
It observed that the petitioner's representation to amend Sections 22 and 185 of the Act to impose more severe punishment can be treated as suggestions for dealing with the menace of drunken driving, which results in deaths and injuries and the incidence of which was reportedly the highest in Tamil Nadu.
Ramesh had sought a direction from the vourt to the Union secretaries of home and law and secretaries of the state to amend the sections in the Act, by cancelling licence and confiscating the vehicle driven by a person under influence.
He submitted that though he had made a representation to the above authorities on October 21, 2014, there was no response and, hence he was constrained to file the PIL.
The bench recalled some directions were issued by the High Court in suo motu writ proceedings initiated against the Chief Secretary in an interim order.
"If there are any proceedings pending before this court, as indicated, the result of consideration be placed in those proceedings for a holistic picture."
It then directed that the petitioner's representation be treated as suggestions by the authorities concerned, more specifically the Ministry of Road Transport and disposed of the PIL.