A Delhi court has set aside the 15-day jail term of a public servant for driving a car in an inebriated state, noting that his valuable right to drive has been taken away since his licence has been suspended for 18 months. The court, which observed that driving own vehicle is not a luxury but a necessity in Delhi, said with the suspension of licence, the 47-year-old man will feel the pinch of punishment every day and he will be reminded of his misadventure of driving car in highly intoxicated state.
It set aside the 15-day jail term of the man, who works as a security assistant in Air India at Palam Airport in Delhi, and upheld the magisterial court’s order of imposing Rs 3,000 fine on him under the Motor Vehicles Act.
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“Notice can be taken of the fact that commuting by public transport in a metropolitan city like Delhi consumes a lot of time and holding of driving licence for the purpose of driving own vehicle is not a luxury but it has become a necessity of day-to-day life,” Special Judge Harish Dudani said.
The sessions court said the trial court has also suspended the man’s driving licence for 18 months by which his valuable right to drive his vehicle has been taken away for such time.
“On account of suspension of driving licence for a period of 18 months, the man would not be able to drive of his own but would be dependent on other modes of transport which at times are not readily accessible and the man will spend more time in commuting as compared to commuting by own vehicle in addition to suffering inconvenience of looking for other modes of transport.
“Hence during the period of suspension of driving licence, the convict will feel the pinch of punishment every day and he will be reminded of his misadventure of driving the vehicle in highly intoxicated state,” the court said.
The judge was hearing an appeal of the man who had challenged his conviction and sentence of 15-day jail given by the trial court for driving the car in drunken state.
The man was caught driving in a drunken state in March this year near Palam Airport and the alcohol content in his blood was found to be 677.6mg/100 ml while the maximum permissible limit is 30mg/100ml. The alcohol content in his blood was more than 22 times the prescribed permissible limit.
The prosecution contended that by driving the vehicle in highly intoxicated state, he was not only risking his own life but also those of other road users.
He sought a lenient view in his appeal, saying that he was the sole bread earner in his family comprising his two sons and an aged mother while his wife died in 2011.
The court modified the trial court’s June 30 order after considering his family circumstances and noting that he was a public servant.