A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court Today, has observed that the punishment provided under Section 304A of Indian Penal Code for ‘causing death by negligence’ is absolutely inadequate.
The Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and C.Nagappan taking a cue from its earlier Judgment in State of Punjab vs. Saurabh Bakshi (2015) 5 SCC 182, remarked as follows:
“We have said that Section 304-A IPC should be revisited so that higher punishment can be provided. The aforesaid passage clearly indicates that punishment provided under Section 304-A is absolutely inadequate. We are absolutely conscious, as the aforesaid would convey, it is up to the Parliament. However, we would like to hear the learned Attorney General for India on this score. Mr. Maninder Singh, learned Additional Solicitor General, who is present in the Court, submits the he will apprise the learned Attorney General to assist the Court.”
The Bench has quoted from State of Punjab vs. Saurabh Bakshi (2015) 5 SCC 182, where the Supreme Court has observed as follows:
“Before parting with the case we are compelled to observe that India has a disreputable record of road accidents. There is a nonchalant attitude among the drivers. They feel that they are the “Emperors of all they survey”. Drunkenness contributes to careless driving where the other people become their prey. The poor feel that their lives are not safe, the pedestrians think of uncertainty and the civilized persons drive in constant fear but still apprehensive about the obnoxious attitude of the people who project themselves as “larger than life”. In such obtaining circumstances, we are bound to observe that the lawmakers should scrutinise, relook and revisit the sentencing policy in Section 304-A IPC. We say so with immense anguish.”
As per Section 304A, whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
The Bench has directed to post the matter on 30th August, 2016
Read the Order here.