Alistair Pereira,convicted in a hit-and-run case,today surrendered before a local court,days after the Supreme Court cancelled his bail for mowing down seven persons by his speeding car in 2006.
Pereira surrendered before the Sewri sessions court,which ordered that he be taken into custody.
Noting that a three-year term in prison is too meagre a punishment for running his car over seven ‘precious’ lives in a drunken spree,the Supreme Court,on January 12,had ordered Pereira to surrender immediately and serve the remainder of his jail sentence.
The Bench of Justices R M Lodha and J S Khehar,in its judgment,made Pereiras case an example of how punishment is grossly disproportionate to the crime committed.
The apex court said though it might have intervened to enhance the punishment,it could not do so as the Maharashtra government had not appealed.
The incident happened in November 2006,when Pereira smashed his car onto a pavement on Carter Road,killing seven people and grievously injuring eight others all labourers working on a construction site nearby.
The trial court sentenced him to six months simple imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh for ‘rash and negligent driving’ (Section 304 A of IPC),throwing out the prosecutions claim that the act of killing seven persons amounted to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Following a public furore on the quantum of punishment,the Bombay High Court in 2007 took suo motu cognisance of the case and ended up raising the punishment to three years,this time convicting him under culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Pereira,who has spent only two months in jail so far,approached the SC against the High Court verdict.
Justice Lodha did not agree with Pereiras challenge of the HC order: Seven precious human lives were lost by the act of the accused. For an offence like this,which has been proved against the appellant (Pereira),sentence of three years awarded by the High Court is too meagre and not adequate. But since no appeal has been preferred by the state,we refrain from considering the matter for enhancement.