HYDERABAD: People caught for drunken driving can vouchsafe that the process itself is the punishment. After being caught while driving in drunken condition, their vehicles have been seized and though two weeks have passed, over ten dozen offenders are still waiting to get their vehicles released from the court.
The traffic police had conducted a drive against drunken driving on May 19 and 20 at several junctions in the city and had registered 250 cases and seized the vehicles. Law stipulates that the vehicles be seized and the errant drivers appear before the morning court in Somajiguda. But the pendency before the court is such that the drunken driving cases are getting postponed much to the chagrin of the motorists whose vehicles are seized.
Take the case of Srikant (name changed at request). He was caught by the police as he was driving his vehicle in a drunken condition. Police found that alcohol count in his blood exceeded 30 mg and seized his vehicle. He did attend the mandatory counselling session two weeks ago, but his case has not come up for hearing till today. While 250 cases were booked on those two days, more than 120 are still waiting to attend the court.
“Yes it was a mistake to drive after drinking. But isn’t it unfair to make one run from pillar to post to get the vehicle released? We do know the court procedures are not in the hands of police, but once they have seized the vehicles, isn’t it their moral responsibility to get the cases cleared at the earliest?” questions another motorist, who too requested anonymity.
The police which acquired latest breath analysers which can give printouts of Blood Alcohol Count (BAC), started booking drunk driving cases under Section 185-A of the Motor Vehicle Act. Under this Section, drunk driving is a non-compoundable offence and the offender has to face trial, explained DCP Traffic (North) P.V.S. Ramakrishna.
Hitherto, the police were booking drunken driving cases under Section 184-B of MV Act (rash driving) where fines up to Rs. 500 were imposed but the drivers were not produced before the court.
This article was published in The Hindu on Jun02, 2012.