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Utsav Bhasin, the son of a Haryana-based industrialist, was today sentenced to two years in jail for mowing down a motorcyclist with his overspeeding BMW car in 2008 by a Delhi court which rued that cow killers get more stringent punishment than errant drivers.
"Sentence for killing cow is five or seven or 14 years in different states but in case of death of a human being caused by rash or negligent driving, sentence prescribed in law is only 2 years," Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Kumar said.
After pronouncing the sentence, the court granted a statutory bail to Bhasin for enabling him to file an appeal in the high court and asked him to furnish a bail bond of Rs 50,000 with a surety of like amount.
Expressing shock over the statistics of road accidents in India, the judge said, "I am compelled to observe that India has a disreputable record of road accidents" while noting that according to National Crime Record Bureau during 2015, a total of 4.64 lakh cases of road accidents were reported which rendered 4.82 lakh persons injured and 1.48 lakh deaths.
"One is shocked to know the statistics about road accidents in our country. Every minute one accident takes place and every four minutes one person dies in road accidents.
"Human life is precious. Road users have a fundamental right to life and liberty which includes the right to safety under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is the duty of the state to ensure safety on roads of the people and it cannot shy away from its duty in any circumstance," the judge said.
The court directed the convict to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the deceased victim's kin and Rs 2 lakh to the other injured man, a journalist, who was riding pillion on the two-wheeler.
It also termed as "unfortunate" the fact that even in Delhi, capital of India, there are no exclusive non-motorised vehicle lanes in most of its roads/part.
Referring to the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 on "Mann ki Baat" where he expressed concern about road safety stating that he was shocked to see the visuals of a recent road accident in Delhi in which the victim lay in a pool of blood for 10 minutes but nobody came for his help.
The judge further said that a copy of the judgement be sent to the Prime Minister for looking into the aspect of inadequate punishment for offence causing death by negligence under section 304 A of the IPC.
Referring to slogan, "Sabka saath sabka vikas", the judgement said that this goal can only be achieved when people do not die in accidents.
The verdict also quotes Union minister Nitin Gadkari, to highlight the fact that road accidents kill more people than terrorism or natural disasters.
Referring to the death of Union minister Gopinath Munde in an accident in 2014 here, the judgement rued this fact that the inadequate punishment provided for the offence in 1861 is still being persisted with.
The court had on May 5 held Bhasin guilty of offences under sections 304A (causing death by negligence), 279 (driving rashly which could endanger human life) and 338 (causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court had while convicting him dropped the charges of 304(II)(culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC.
Bhasin was driving his BMW car when he had hit the two- wheeler on Moolchand flyover in South Delhi, killing Anuj Singh on September 11, 2008. The TV channel journalist was also injured in the incident.
The brother of the deceased, who was present in the court room, said that he would file an appeal in the high court against the dropping of a stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 (II) of the IPC.