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Bus drivers expected to be vigilant of persons on road: Court


New Delhi:  A bus driver, convicted of causing death of a person by negligent driving over a decade ago, has been sent to jail by a Delhi court which observed that such incidents are on the rise and the courts can’t be oblivious to social responsibility.

The court, while holding bus driver Surendra Kumar guilty under sections 279(rash driving) and 304A (causing death by negligence) of IPC, said that being a bus driver he was also expected to be vigilant of the persons on the road.

“It’s been observed that incidents of fatal accidents are on the rise and this court can’t be oblivious to its social responsibility,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sharad Gupta said.

The court also said that Kumar was driving his bus in the “wrong lane” and did not care to ensure that no person was in front of his bus. “The accused was thus rash and negligent in driving his bus,” it said.

“His vehicle was a bus and was to be driven in the bus lane on the extreme left side of the road…Being a bus driver he was expected to be vigilant of the persons on road around bus especially when there was a bus stand near the spot and the possibility of people coming on the road or near the bus could not be ruled out,” it said.

The court, while sentencing him to one year in jail, also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 which shall be paid as compensation to the family members of the victim.

It also referred to the District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) for grant of appropriate compensation to victim’s kin.

Kumar was, however, granted bail by the court to appeal in higher court against the verdict.

According to prosecution on August 17, 2002 at Bhajanpura Chowk in east Delhi, Kumar was found driving a bus in a rash and negligent manner and rammed into one Yogesh Kumar resulting in his death.

The driver was caught by a policeman on duty who had seen him trying to flee after the accident.

The court refused to accept the defence of Kumar that one of the cops who had supported the prosecution case, had turned hostile during his cross-examination.

“The cross examination of the witness took place about 13 years after the incident. Human memory is neither supposed to be perfect nor infallible and with passage of time, some discrepancies here and there are to be expected in testimonies of witnesses,” the court said.

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