December 8, 2021 9:30:39 am
Dismissing the bail plea of an accused in case of rash driving which led to fatality of one and injuring seven others, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed an SDM-cum-transport officer to suspend the driving licence of the accused immediately over his claim that he has history of epilepsy and is undergoing treatment at PGI.
The petitioner-accused, Pritpal Singh, was booked by the Punjab Police at Tripuri police station, Patiala, on March 30, 2021, for rash driving and attempt to commit culpable homicide. As per the complaint, Pritpal Singh, who was driving a Fortuner SUV, allegedly rammed into a car at a light point at Patiala, where farmers were peacefully protesting. Due to the hit, seven, including two minors, were injured, and one person died. On seeing the gathering of people, the driver of Fortuner slipped away, leaving behind his vehicle.
The counsel for the petitioner seeking bail argued that the petitioner is a patient with history of epilepsy and has been undergoing treatment at PGI since 2016 and relied upon the medical record to submit that he is undergoing seizure disorder treatment from PGI. It is submitted that the brain’s electrical activity is periodically disturbed, which results in some degree of temporary brain dysfunction and in some cases, seizure causes uncontrollable shaking and loss of consciousness.
The petitioner was admitted to hospital on March 29, 2021, and was discharged on March 30, 2021, which is the date of the accident. It is thus submitted that it will be a debatable issue whether Section 304 of the IPC is made out in the present case or it is a case falling under Section 304-A of the IPC. Also, the petitioner has been in custody since March 30, 2021; investigation is complete and it will take some time in conclusion of the trial.
Opposing the bail, the state counsel contended that there was a peaceful demonstration of the farmers at the roundabout near Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib and the petitioner, while driving the vehicle in a negligent manner, intentionally rammed the vehicle into a car standing on the traffic lights and then hit the farmers sitting on an agitation. In that process, two minors aged 16 and two and father of the complainant, Inderjit Singh, died. One person, Gurpreet Singh, suffered multiple injuries. He has undergone two brain surgeries and remained on ventilator, incurring huge medical expenses. He is still under treatment. As per opinion of the doctor, he had three other injuries. Apart from this, four other persons were also injured in the incident.
The counsel for the complainant contended that the petitioner has procured the driving licence by concealing his medical condition, as it is mandatory under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
After hearing the matter, Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan said, “Admittedly, it is own case of the petitioner that he is a patient of epilepsy since 2016 and without disclosing the said fact, he had procured the driving licence. It is further case of the petitioner that at the time of the incident, he has suffered the seizure, which resulted in the accident, as he was later admitted to the hospital… A perusal of the FIR shows that after the accident, the petitioner ran away from the spot, instead of providing medical assistance to the persons, who had suffered injuries.”
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