A sessions court quashed the jail term handed to a motorcyclist — held guilty by a trial court for allegedly killing a pedestrian — stating that there remains “scope” that the victim was at “fault” as he was crossing a road without a zebra crossing.
Special Judge Pulastya Pramachala on May 23 set aside the four-month jail term handed to the accused, and acquitted him of the offences of causing death by negligence and rash driving under the IPC. The judge cited the site plan made by police, which did not show any dedicated pedestrian crossing at the accident site.
“As per Rule 11 of the Rules of the Road Regulations 1989, pedestrians have the right of way at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings. It is implicit in this rule that pedestrians would have the right of way on pedestrian crossing, meaning pedestrians do not have a right of way at any other place of road except pedestrian crossing. Therefore, there remains scope of a situation where an accident takes place on account of some fault or negligence on part of the pedestrian, while crossing the road from some different place than the zebra crossing,” the court said.
The case dates back to December 4, 2006, when the victim, Nathu Singh, was hit by a motorcycle. A complaint was filed by his wife and daughter, who were at the accident spot.
However, the court said, “It is normal tendency of people that whenever an accident takes place, the blame is put on the vehicle rider, though it is settled law that mere fact of an accident taking place cannot be an example of rash or negligent driving. It is the prosecution’s duty to establish that accident took place on account of rash or negligent driving. The prosecution has to elicit relevant facts… from witnesses.”
The sessions court said the investigating officer “apparently” did not examine independent witnesses from the spot. “In these circumstances, I find the appellant to be at least entitled to benefit of doubt.”