DCP (traffic) Harish Baijal told TOI, “This is the first time that a person has been booked and found guilty of abetting drunk driving in Mumbai, perhaps even in the country.” In this case, the police recorded the statement of the abettor to show that he knew the driver was drunk and yet did nothing to stop him from driving.
Abetting drunk driving (Section 188 of the Motor Vehicles Act) attracts the same punishment as the offence of drunk driving (Section 185 of the MVA). A first–time offender faces a fine of Rs 2,000 and/or a maximum jail term of six months and could also have his driving licence suspended for a minimum of six months.
What the Law says Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
Section 184: Speeding or driving dangerously
Section 185: Drunken driving (with more than 30% alcohol in blood) or driving under the influence of drugs First offence – Up to six months and fine up to Rs 2,000. Second offence – Up to two years or Rs 3,000 fine or both
Section 188: Abetment of dangerous or drunken driving Punishment – Same as above
In a first of its kind case, a co–passenger has been convicted for abetting a drunk driving offence. The two persons held guilty on Wednesday are Thane residents, Yogesh Bhoir (20) and Lokesh Gholap (22). Bhoir was driving the Swift (MH09 AB 1111) which belonged to his father. Officials said the duo had visited a bar late on February 4. They were returning to their Naupada residence when a traffic police team stopped them at Modella check naka.
Bhoir tested positive in the breath analysis test, which showed 146 ml of alcohol in his blood. Surprisingly, Gholap was much more sloshed with 385 ml of alcohol in his blood. Bhoir’s license has been suspended for six months.
“The duo was so heavily drunk that they had to be hospitalised that night. Doctors at the hospital said that Bhoir had been admitted there twice in the past after getting drunk,” Baijal said. “After paying the fine, the duo did not turn up in court on February 5. The court then served them a summons, instructing them to remain present on Wednesday.” Bhoir is a student at an open university while Gholap runs a business.
Former IPS officer–turned–lawyer Y P Singh told TOI that not every copassenger can be booked for abetting drunk driving. He can be charged only if he has actively participated in the case. “Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code defines abetment and this definition is applicable to all legislation. Abetment is when a person instigates the accused to commit a crime, or aids him to do it, or when there’s a criminal conspiracy. Mere knowledge of the offence can’t be termed as abetment. These three conditions have to be satisfied,” Singh said.
Advocate Dipesh Mehta, who is representing actor Salman Khan in his Bandrahit–and–run case, said that while implementation of such laws was a positive step for the city, care should be taken that innocent citizens were not implicated.
After the traffic police started a sustained campaign against drunk driving two years ago, the number of road accidents has fallen drastically. In 2006, the number of such accidents was 648. It came down to 575 in 2008. Bhoir refused to speak to the media. His lawyer pleaded for a lighter sentence on the grounds that Bhoir was young, belonged to a good family and was a first–time offender.
Source: Times of India