Deaths donít determine gravity of accident: HC

Accident

Bombay High Court (HC) observed Tuesday number of deaths cannot be a criterion to determine gravity of an accident.

It was hearing a bail application by US national Nooriya Haveliwala, convicted in a case of drink driving in which two people, including a police officer, were killed in January 2010.

November last year, a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act court sentenced Haveliwala to five years for charges under IPC. However, it acquitted her of the charge of drug consumption.

She has challenged her conviction and sought bail while her appeal is pending in High Court.

The state government, on the other hand, has sought enhanced punishment for Haveliwala and challenged her acquittal under NDPS Act.

Her counsel Abad Ponda told HC in a case where three people had died, Supreme Court handed out only six-month jail.

"Number of deaths is not the criteria. The fact remains whether it (offence) is graver? Even if the deaths are less (in number), the offence can be graver," justice A M Thipsay said.

HC also asked if section 304 II (culpabale homicide not amounting to murder), applied in this case, was applied in any other case of accident before the Alistair Pareira case of 2006 in which seven pavement dwellers in Bandra were killed.

Ponda said the section was applied against actor Salman Khan, booked for running over five people in Bandra in September 2002.

He said the section attracting maximum imprisonment of ten years was not applied against Khan initially but after a PIL was filed in High Court. The section was applied under "public pressure".

"The moment they (police) add charges, they are seen in good light," justice Thipsay remarked. The arguments will continue Wednesday.

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