Queues of those caught drunk while driving are getting longer day by day in the District Court,Chandigarh. For,the lower court is convicting more and more people on account of drunken driving. So much so that as compared to last year,where 220 violators were convicted in the entire year,this year the number of those convicted has almost tripled.
Till May 31 this year,the District Court,Sector 43,has convicted 614 persons of drunken driving. Those convicted also include two women who were challaned by the Traffic Police and later convicted by the court.
The drunkards are made to stand/sit the entire day till the court closes (normally by 4 pm) this is called till the rising of the court. Last year,a total of 4,702 challans were issued on account of drunken driving. Out of these,220 were convicted by the court. However,this year till May 31,a total of 2,081 challans have been issued for mixing drinking with driving and 614 already stand convicted.
The number of convictions,sources say,has increased after the courts decided to take strict action against those who not only put their lives at risk but are also a serious threat to other commuters. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had emphasised the need to take strict action against drunken drivers.
It was in August 2011 that Justice Rajive Bhalla of the High Court had asked the judges of lower courts in the two states as well as Chandigarh to consider releasing offenders on strict probation and refer them to organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous for attending a fixed number of meetings.
Justice Bhalla had suggested that the judges may also pass orders for suspension of driving licences. The High Court had also recorded that while magistrates in Haryana and Chandigarh have already begun sentencing offenders to different terms of imprisonment,the magistrates in Punjab are yet to realise the gravity of the offence.
In order to further deter the drunken drivers and curb the menace,police officers feel that in cases where a person has been caught heavily drunk,he should be sent behind bars. Last year,the Chandigarh Police had appealed to the District Court to send those indulging in drunken and minor driving behind bars rather than awarding them till the rising of the court.
As per Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act,anybody found driving or attempting to drive a vehicle above the permissible limit of alcohol in the blood (30mg/100 ml) can be imprisoned up to six months or levied a penalty of Rs 2,000,or both.