Kerala High Court Calls For Changes In Law To Penalise ‘Road Rage’

first_imgNews UpdatesKerala High Court Calls For Changes In Law To Penalise ‘Road Rage’ Lydia Suzanne Thomas23 March 2021 4:41 AMShare This – xWhile allowing bail to a person accused of ramming his truck into a vehicle belonging to the Kerala High Court, the High Court observed that India did not yet have legal provisions penalising ‘road rage’. In his bail order, Justice VG Arun takes note of the absence of law in this respect, either under the Motor Vehicles Act or penal legislation. “This is an aspect which should engage…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginWhile allowing bail to a person accused of ramming his truck into a vehicle belonging to the Kerala High Court, the High Court observed that India did not yet have legal provisions penalising ‘road rage’. In his bail order, Justice VG Arun takes note of the absence of law in this respect, either under the Motor Vehicles Act or penal legislation. “This is an aspect which should engage the attention of the law makers, particularly in view of the increase in the number of road rage incidents in the country”, Justice Arun opined. The applicant, Sunny Thomas, was supposed to have intentionally rammed his truck onto a Toyota Innova owned by the High Court on March 4, while the High Court’s vehicle was parked on the side of the National Highway at Vaniyampara. Opposing bail, the prosecution alleged that the petitioner rammed his truck into the High Court’s vehicle purportedly enraged that the High Court’s vehicle was blocking access to his shop. Despite the driver’s assurances that he would move the car after he purchased a bottle of water, the petitioner proceeded to ram his vehicle into the High Court’s car. When doing so, Thomas is alleged to have shouted, “no one need be under the impression that the board with ‘High Court’ written in red letters, gives him the right to do any mischief” (translation as per the bail order from the High Court). The High Court’s vehicle sustained extensive damage, Justice Arun’s Order records, and led to Thomas’ arrest under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act (PDPP). After his previous bail application was rejected by the jurisdictional magistrate on the grounds that a rigorous approach was to be taken an offence under the PDPP, particularly one that seemed to have been committed intentionally. Before the High Court, Thomas’ Counsel Advocate Bijo Francis urged the Court that Thomas committed the offence on the spur of the moment and had not premedidated its commission. Describing his offence as sheer arrogance to have slammed his vehicle against a High Court vehicle, the prosecution prayed for the rejection of the bail. Pointing out that Thomas had been incarcerated since March 4, the Court observed that there was no purpose served by continuing his incarceration. The Court touched upon the existing framework that governed acts of this nature. In this respect, the Court underscored the importance of a driver of a vehicle being in full possession of their physical and mental abilities while driving, required under Regulation 5 (1) & (2) of the Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017. Further, Section 19 of the Motor Vehicles Act provides for disqualifying a person from holding driving licence or to revoke the licence if such person has, by his previous conduct as the driver of a motor vehicle, shown that his driving is likely to be attended with danger to the public. However, on the aspect of crimes caused by road rage, the Judge lamented the absence of a framework to deal with this, despite these instances being on the ascent. Explaining what he termed as road rage, the Court stated, “Any person who engages in a course of conduct that causes or threatens an impact involving damage to another vehicle is guilty of road rage.” Pointing out that road rage was a punishable offence in jurisdictions such as Australia, Germany and Singapore, the Court called upon Indian lawmakers to consider the question of penalising road rage in India as well. On facts, the Court allowed Thomas bail, directing him to execute a bond of Rs 50,000 to the subordinate court. Calculating the damage caused to the High Court vehicle as Rs 1,50, 000, the Court also ordered Thomas to deposit this sum with the subordinate court as well, as was mandated under the PDPP Act. With the additional direction to Thomas requiring him to surrender his driving licence for three months, the bail proceedings were closed. CASE NAME: SUNNY THOMAS V. STATE OF KERALA Click here to download the orderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more