Punishment for rash driving essential as deterrent: HC

Madurai bench of the Madras High Court observed that punishment for rash and negligent driving was essential as a deterrent.

Madurai: Observing that punishment for rash and negligent driving was essential as a deterrent, Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has confirmed the conviction on the driver of a tractor which ran over a four-year old girl near here some four years ago.
Justice PR Sivakumar, however, took into consideration the family of the driver, comprising wife and two children aged seven and four, and commuted the sentence from six months to three months of simple imprisonment.
The judge imposed a fine of Rs 5000 on P Muniaswamy or in default undergo three more months of imprisonment.

The judge said in cases like these the punishment should also not be negligible or nominal."The court deems it appropriate to reduce the sentence of imprisonment to three months from six months".

Police had registered a case under IPC 304(a) (causing death by negligence) after the girl was run over while walking along the road at RS Mangalam on April 29,2008.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate found him guilty and sentenced him to six months of imprisonment without mentioning whether it was simple or rigorous imprisonment.

On appeal, the Principal District Sessions judge inadvertently mentioned that the convict had been ordered to undergo rigorous imprisonment. Hence the appellant had to undergo such sentence. Normally if no mention was made about the mode of punishment, it should be taken as simple imprisonment only, the judge said.

Filing the present revision plea, Muniaswamy had initially challenged his conviction as well as sentence. But when the judge refused to interfere with the lower court judgment, he prayed to show some mercy and reduce the sentence.