BEST bus driver gets 3 months in jail for 2021 accident; court says leniency will send wrong signal in society

A court in Mumbai sentenced a BEST bus driver to three months in jail for injuring a cyclist in January 2021 in the metropolis’ Pedder Road area after observing that someone driving a public transport vehicle in a negligent manner poses a serious risk to passengers as well as other road users.

It also turned down his plea for leniency on the ground that it was his first offence in a 28-year career saying such a move “will send a wrong signal in the society”.

He was convicted under Indian Penal Code sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) by metropolitan magistrate Nadeem Patel of Girgaon court on October 21. The details of the order were made available on Monday.

As per the prosecution, on January 2021, the bus being driven by the accused dashed against the handle of the cycle of the victim, who fell and sustained a simple injury.

The accused’s lawyer, while seeking leniency, said it was his first offence in a 28-year career with the civic run Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking and that his entire family depended on him.

The prosecution prayed for maximum punishment, of six months, saying the accused was driving a public vehicle and, therefore, was duty bound to do so diligently.

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The court, in its order, noted the quantum of sentence depends on circumstances and facts of the case, injury caused to the victim, nature of offence and its impact on the society.

“In the present matter, the injury caused to the victim is simple in nature. However, the accused is a driver of public transport i.e. BEST, who is held guilty for driving the bus in a negligent manner,” the court said.

“It is a matter of safety for the people within a bus and on the road as well. If the driver of the public transport is driving in a negligent manner, then it is dangerous because it can pose a serious risk to passengers as well as other road users,” the court observed.

Therefore, in such types of cases, if unwarranted leniency is shown, it will send a wrong signal in the society, the magistrate said.

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