Harsh penalty for drunken driving sought

In a move close on the heels of acquittal of actor Salman Khan in a 13-year-old drunken-driving and hit-and-run case, the Centre on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that it was seeking to enhance punishment if the accused is found involved in an accident in an inebriated state.

Centre’s counsel Parag Vyas told a division  bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Gautam Patel that the government is considering a proposal to enhance punishment for drunk-driving by amending IPC sections 304 A (causing death by negligence) and 279 (rash and negligent driving).

“A draft bill pertaining to amendment to Indian Penal Code sections is being scrutinised and finalised,” he said.

“A draft proposal seeking to increase the compensation for accident victims under the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act had been sent to the states, 22 of which have given their comments...once all the states respond, the government would take a final call,” he added.

The court was hearing a PIL  by the senior journalist and activist Nikhil Wagle seeking compensation from Bollywood superstar Salman Khan for the victims of the 2002 incident. Khan, who earlier this year was convicted by the Mumbai Sessions Court and sentenced to five-year jail for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, has been acquitted by the Bombay High Court. The matter has now been posted for February 21.

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