Women convicted of murder on jumping in well with children…

Comment : In this case a women driven to despair and torture jumped into a well with her three children, was convicted u/s 300 (4) for causing death by act with knowledge that such act is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death. The defence took the specios plea that such act was justified in the facts of the case – i.e there was a circumstantial compulsion – the court turned down the plea – differentiating the case from likes of Emproer v. Dhirajia and convicted for murder – but gave the lesser punishment for life. 
 
Madhya Pradesh High Court
Gyarsibai W/O Jagannath vs The State on 23 October, 1952
Equivalent citations: 1953 CriLJ 588
Author: Dixit
Bench: Dixit, Chaturvedi

JUDGMENT

Dixit, J.

1. The appellant has been convicted by the Sessions Judge of Shajapur of an offence under Section 302, Penal Code, for the murder of her three children and also of an offence under Section 309, Penal Code, for an attempt to commit suicide. She has been sentenced to transportation for life under Section 302 Penal Code, and to six months simple imprisonment under Section 309, Penal Code. Both these sentences have been directed to run concurrently. She has now preferred this appeal from Jail against the convictions and sentences.

2. The facts of this case are very simple. The prosecution alleged that the appellant, her children, her husband Jagannath and her sister-in-law Kaisar Bai used to reside together. There were constant quarrels between the appellant and her sister-in-law and very often Jagannath used to slap the appellant for picking up a quarrel with her sister-in-law Kaisar Bai. It is alleged that one such quarrel took place on the morning of 14.8.1951 when Jagannath was away from his home. In this quarrel Kaisar Bai asked the appellant to leave the house. Thereupon, the appellant left the house, taking her three children aged 7 years, 5 years and 1 years and saying that on account of her sister-in-law she would jump into a well. Soon after, the appellant went to a well in the village and threw herself into the well along with her three children. A few hours after, some inhabitants of the village found Gyarasibai supporting herself on an edge of the well and the three children dead in the well. The appellant admitted before the Committing Magistrate as well as before the Sessions Judge that she jumped into the well together with her children on account of her sister-in-law Kaisar Bai’s harassment.

3. The facts have been amply established by the prosecution evidence. From the statement of Kaisar Bai and Narayan it is Clear that on the morning of the day ox occurrence, there was a quarrel between Kaisar Bai and Gyarasi Bai, and during this quarrel when Kaisar Bai asked the appellant to leave the house, she left the house with her three children, saying that she would jump into a well. Kaisar Bai also admits that some times Jagannath used to give two or three slaps to the appellant for quarrelling with her. The other prosecution witnesses deposed to the recovery of the bodies of three children and to the rescue of the appellant. There is no eye-witness of the fact that the appellant jumped down the well herself together with her three children. But from the statements of Kaisar Bai, Narayan and the statement of the appellant herself before the Committing Magistrate and the Sessions Judge, I am satisfied that the version given by the appellant in her own statement is correct and that she jumped into the well herself along with her three children in order to escape harassment at the hands of her sister-in-law Kaisar Bai.

4. On these facts the only question that arises for consideration is whether the appellant is guilty of the offence of murder of the three children and of attempted suicide. The learned Sessions Judge has found her guilty under Section 302, Penal Code, but he has not stated under which clause of Section 300, Penal Code, the act of the appellant in jumping down into a well together with her three children is murder. I think this act of the appellant clearly falls under the 4th clause of Section 300, Penal Code, which defines murder. On the facts it is clear that the appellant Gyarasi Bai had no intention to cause the death of any of her children and she jumped into the well not with the intention of killing her children but with the intention of committing suicide. That being so, Clauses 1, 2 and 3 of Section 300, Penal Code, which apply to cases in which death is caused by an act done with the intention of causing death or causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause the death of person or sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death cannot be applied to the present case. The only clause of Section 300. Penal Code, which then remains for consideration is the 4th clause. This clause says:

If the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death, or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.

5. It will be seen from this clause that if death is caused merely by doing an act with the knowledge that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death, then the act is not murder as is defined in Clause 4, but is mere culpable homicide not amounting to murder. In order that an act done with such knowledge should constitute murder, it is essential that it should have been committed “without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such bodily injury”. The question, therefore, is whether when the appellant jumped into the well together with her three children, she had the knowledge that her act was so imminently dangerous, as to cause in all probability the death of her children and further whether if she had such knowledge her act in jumping into a well with her children was “without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such bodily injury as is mentioned in Clause 4 of Section 300, Penal Code. Now I think it cannot be said in the present case, with any degree of force that when the appellant jumped into a well with her children she had not the knowledge that her act was so imminently dangerous as to cause the death of her children. Her life might have become unbearable owing to domestic troubles and perhaps on account of these troubles, she decided to take her own life. I am also prepared to hold that on account of the discord in the house, the appellant was subjected to severe exasperation and to a long course of conduct causing suffering and anxiety. But when on account of all these reasons, she left the house on the day of the occurrence saying that she would jump into a well with her children, it cannot be said that she was in such an abnormal state of mind that could not have any Knowledge of the nature of her act.

Every sane person – and in this case we are bound to take it that the appellant was sane – is presumed to have some knowledge of the nature of his act. This knowledge is not negatived by any mental condition short of insanity. In my opinion, the act of the appellant in jumping into a well with her children is clearly one done by the appellant knowing that it must in all probability cause the death of her children. I do not find any circumstances to come to the conclusion that the appellant had some excuse for incurring the risk of causing the death of her children. The fact that there were quarrels between the appellant and sister-in-law and that her life had become unbearable on account of this family discord, cannot be regarded as a valid justification for appellant’s act of jumping into a well with her children.

The words used in Clause 4 of Section 300, Penal Code are “without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid”. These words indicate that the imminently dangerous act is not murder if it is done to prevent a greater evil. If the evil can be avoided without doing the act, then there can be no valid justification for doing the act which is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death or such injury as is likely to cause death. Here there is no material, whatsoever, to come to the conclusion that the appellant could not have escaped the harassment at the hands of her sister-in-law except by jumping herself into a well with her three children. I am, therefore, inclined to think that the appellant’s act is clearly murder under Clause 4 of Section 300, Penal Code.

6. I must, however, notice two cases in which the question of the offence constituted by an act of a woman deliberately jumping into a well with a child in circumstances somewhat different to those present in this case has been considered. The first case is one reported in – Emperor v. Dhirajia ILR (1940) All 647. In this case a village woman left her home with her six months old baby in her arms on account of her husband’s illtreatment; after she had gone some distance from the home, she turned round and saw her husband pursuing her. She became panicky and jumped down into a well nearby with the baby in her arms. The baby died, but the woman survived. On these facts, the learned Judges of the Allahabad High Court held that an intention to cause the death of the child could not be attributed to the woman, though she must be attributed with the knowledge that such an imminently dangerous act as jumping down the well was likely to cause the child’s death.

But the learned Judges held that considering the state of panic she was in, the culpable homicide did not amount to murder as there was an excuse for incurring the risk of causing death. Mst. Dhirajia was thus found guilty under Section 304, Penal Code. It is not necessary to consider whether upon the facts of that case, the conclusion that the woman was guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was justified. But it must be observed that the learned Judges of the Allahabad High Court thought that the fear of her husband and the panic into which she was thrown could be an excuse for incurring the risk of causing death. Here there is no question of any panic or fright of the appellant. It is, no doubt, true, as the learned Judges of the Allahabad High Court say that in assessing what is excuse or is not excuse, we must consider the state of mind in which the accused person was.

But I think in considering the question we must take into account the state of mind of a reasonable and legally sane person and then determine whether the risk of causing death could have been avoided. On this test, there can be no room for thinking in the present case that the appellant was justified in jumping into a well with her three children merely on account of her sister-in-law’s attitude towards her. The other decision is of the Bombay High Court in – Supadi Lukada v. Emperor AIR 1925 Bom 310. In that case too, a girl of about 17 years of age who was carrying her baby on her back jumped into a well because her husband had ill-treated her and had prevented her from returning to her parents.

The learned Judges of the Bombay High Court held that when the girl attempted to commit suicide by jumping into a well she could not be said to have been in a normal condition and was not, therefore, even aware of the child’s presence and that as she was not conscious of the child, there was not such knowledge as to make Section 300(4) applicable. The learned Judges of the Bombay High Court found the girl guilty under Section 304A. The Bombay case is clearly distinguishable on the facts. In the present case when the evidence shows that the appellant left her home saying that she would jump into a well with her three children, it cannot clearly be held that she was not aware that her children were with her. In my opinion, these two cases are not of much assistance to the appellant.

7. As regards the conviction of the appellant for an attempt to commit suicide, I think she has been rightly convicted of that offence. When she jumped into the well, she did so in a conscious effort to take her own life.

8. The appellant has been sentenced to transportation for life under Section 302, Penal Code, This is the only sentence which could legally be passed in this case. But having regard to the fact and circumstances of the case and also to the fact that the appellant though not legally insane was not and could not be in a normal state of mind when she jumped into a well with her three children, I think this is not a case deserving of a severe punishment. I would, therefore, recommend to the Government to commute the sentence of transportation for life to one of three years rigorous imprisonment. The sentence of six months’ simple imprisonment awarded to the appellant for the offence under Section 309 is appropriate.

9. In the result this appeal is dismissed.

Chaturvedi, J.

10. I agree.


Causing Death of Tresspasser by Rash & Negligent Act

Supreme Court of India
Cherubin Gregory vs The State Of Bihar on 31 July, 1963
Equivalent citations: 1964 AIR 205, 1964 SCR (4) 199
Bench: Ayyangar, N Rajagopala

PETITIONER:

CHERUBIN GREGORY

Vs.

RESPONDENT:

THE STATE OF BIHAR

DATE OF JUDGMENT:

31/07/1963

BENCH:

AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA

BENCH:

AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA

SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ)

SHAH, J.C.

CITATION:

1964 AIR 205 1964 SCR (4) 199

ACT:

Criminal trial-Trespasser-Duty of owners towards trespassers Indian Penal Code S. 99, 103, 304A.

HEADNOTE:

The appellant was charged under s. 304-A of Indian Penal Code for causing the death of a woman. The deceased was residing near the house of the accused. The wall of the latrine of the house of the deceased had fallen down about a week prior to the day of occurrence and so the deceased along with others started using the latrine of the accused. The accused protested against their coming there. The oral warnings however, proved ineffective and so he fixed up a naked copper wire across the passage leading upto his latrine and that wire carried current from the electrical wiring of his home to which it was connected. On the day of the occurrence, the deceased went to the latrine of the appellant and there she touched the aforesaid fixed wire as a result of which she died soon after. The trial and the appellate court convicted and sentenced the appellant under S. 304A of the Indian Penal Code. Hence this appeal. 200

Held : (1) The plea of the right of private defence of property was not sustainable for the reason that the type of injury caused by the trap laid by the accused could not be brought within the purview of S. 99 or 103 of the Indian Penal Code.

(2) A trespasser was not an outlaw, a caput lupinem. The mere fact that the person entering a land was a trespasser did not entitle the owner or occupier to inflict on him personal injury by direct violence and the same principle would govern the infliction of injury by indirectly doing something on the land the effect of which he must know was likely to cause serious injury to the trespasser.

JUDGMENT:

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal Appeal No. 3 of 1962.

Appeal by special leave from the judgment and order dated September 20, 1961 of the Patna High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 124 of 1960.

D. Goburdhan, for the appellant.

S.P. Ferma, for the respondent.

July 31, 1963. The judgment of the Court was delivered by AYYANGAR J.-This is an appeal by special leave against the judgment of the High Court of Patna dismissing an appeal by the appellant against his conviction and the sentence passed on him by the Sessions Judge, Champaran. The appellant was charged with an offence under S. 304A of the Indian Penal Code for causing the death of one Mst. Madilen by contact with an electrically charged naked copper wire which he had fixed up at the back of his house with a view to prevent the entry of intruders into his latrine. The deceased Madilen was an inmate of a house near that of the accused. The wall of the latrine of the house of the deceased had fallen down about a week prior to the day of the occurrence-July 16, 1959, with the result that her latrine had become exposed to public view. Consequently the deceased among others, started using the latrine of the accused. The accused resented this and made it clear to them that they did not have his permission to use it and protested against their coming there. The oral warnings, however, proved inef-

201

fective and it was for this reason that on the facts, as found by the courts below, the accused wanted to make entry into his latrine dangerous to the intruders. Though some of the facts alleged by the prosecution were disputed by the accused, they are now concluded by the findings of the courts below and are no longer open to challenge and, indeed, learned Counsel for the appellant did not attempt to controvert them. The facts, as found, are that in order to prevent the ingress of persons like the deceased into his latrine by making such ingress dangerous (1) the accused fixed up a copper wire across the passage leading up to his latrine, (2) that this wire was naked and uninsulated and carried current from the electrical wiring of his house to which it was connected, (3) there was no warning that the wire was live, (4) the deceased managed to pass into the latrine without contacting the wire but that as she came out her hand happened to touch it and she got a shock as a result of which she died soon after. On these facts the Courts below held that the accused was guilty of an offence under s. 304A of the Indian Penal Code which en- acts :

“304A. Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

The accused made a suggestion that the deceased had been sufficiently warned and the facts relied on in this connection were two : (1) that at the time of the accident it was past day break and there was therefore enough light, and (2) that an electric light was burning some distance away. But it is manifest that neither of these could constitute warning as the conditions of the wire being charged with electric current could not obviously be de- tected merely by the place being properly lit. The voltage of the current passing through the naked wire being high enough to be lethal, there could be no dispute that charging it with current of that voltage was a ‘rash act’ done in reckless disregard of the serious consequences to people coming in contact with it.

It might be mentioned that the accused was also cliar- 14–2 S. C. India/64

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ged before the learned Sessions Judge with an offence under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code but on the finding that the accused had no intention to cause the death of the deceased he was acquitted of that charge. The principal point of law which appears to have been argued before the learned judges of the High Court was that the accused had a right of private defence of property and that the death was caused in the course of the exercise of that right. The learned judges repelled this defence and in our opinion, quite correctly. The right of private defence of property which is set out in s. 97 of the Indian Penal Code is, as that section itself provides, subject to the provisions of s. 99 of the Code. It is obvious that the type of injury caused by the trap laid by the accused cannot be brought within the scope of s. 99, nor of course of s. 103 of the Code. As this defence was not pressed before us with any seriousness it is not necessary to deal with this at more length.

Learned Counsel, however, tried to adopt a different approach. The contention was that the deceased was a trespasser and that there was no duty owed by an occupier like the accused towards the trespasser and therefore the latter would have had no cause of action for damages for the injury inflicted and that if the act of the accused was not a tort, it could not also be a crime. There is no substance in this line of argument. In the first place, where we have a Code like the Indian Penal Code which defines with particularity the ingredients of a crime and the defences open to an accused charged with any of the offences there set out we consider that it would not be proper or justifiable to permit the invocation of some Common Law principle outside that Code for the purpose of treating what on the words of the statute is a crime into a permissible or other than unlawful act. But that apart, learned Counsel is also not right in his submission that the act of the accused as a result of which the deceased suffered injuries resulting in her death was not an actionable wrong. A trespasser is not an outlaw, a Caput lupinem. The mere fact that the person entering a land is a trespasser does not entitle the owner or occupier to inflict on him personal in- jury by direct violence and the same principle would 203

govern the infliction of injury by indirectly doing some- thing on the land the effect of which he must know was likely to cause serious injury to the trespasser. Thus in England it has been held that one who sets springguns to shoot at trespassers is guilty of a tort and that the person injured is entitled to recover. The laying of such a trap, and there is little difference between the spring-gun which was the trap with which the English Courts had to deal and the naked live wire in the present case, is in truth “an arrangement to shoot a man without personally firing a shot”. It is, no doubt true that the trespasser enters the property at his own risk and the occupier owes no duty to take any reasonable care for his protection, but at the same time the occupier is not entitled to do willfully acts such as set a trap or set a naked live wire with the deliberate intention of causing harm to trespassers or in reckless disregard of the presence of the trespassers. As we pointed out earlier, the voltage of the current fed into the wire precludes any contention that it was merely a reasonable precaution for the protection of private property. The position as to the obligation of occupiers towards trespassers has been neatly summarised by the Law Reform Committee of the United Kingdom in the following words: “The trespasser enters entirely at his own risk, but the occupier must not set traps designed to do him bodily harm or to do any act calculated to do bodily harm to the trespasser whom he knows to be or who to his knowledge is likely to be on his premises. For example, he must not set man-traps or spring guns.

This is no more than ordinary civilised behaviour.” judged in the light of these tests, it is clear that the point urged is wholly without merit.

The appeal fails and is dismissed.

Appeal dismissed.


Supreme Court on Rash & Grossly Negligent.

Supreme Court of India
Rathnashalvan vs State Of Karnataka on 11 January, 2007
Author: D A Pasayat
Bench: D A Pasayat, S Kapadia

CASE NO.:

Appeal (crl.) 45 of 2007

PETITIONER:

Rathnashalvan

RESPONDENT:

State of Karnataka

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/01/2007

BENCH:

DR. Arijit Pasayat & S.H. Kapadia

JUDGMENT:

JUDGMENT

DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J. :

1. Leave granted.

2. Appellant calls in question legality of the judgment rendered by a learned Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court dismissing the criminal revision filed by the appellant questioning correctness of the judgment of learned Second Additional Civil Judge (Jr. Dn.) & JMFC, Hassan. The appellant was convicted for offences punishable under Sections 304-A, 279 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC’). He was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 700/- for the offence punishable under Section 279 IPC, Rs. 300/- for the offence punishable under Section 337 IPC and simple imprisonment for six months for the offence punishable under Section 304-A IPC. Default stipulations were provided in respect of the fines imposed. An appeal was preferred which was partially allowed by learned Additional Sessions Judge, Hassan. The conviction in terms of Section 279 was set aside. However, in respect of Sections 337 and 304-A IPC the conviction was maintained along with the sentences imposed. In the revision petition filed before the High Court the primary stand was that there was no rash and negligence involved because the vehicle capsized because of mechanical failure. The High Court did not find any substance and dismissed the revision petition.

3. The factual position in a nutshell is as follows :

On 23.7.1996 at about 11 a.m. the revision petitioner/accused being the driver of a lorry bearing No. KL13-4363, was proceeding on Hassan-Arsikere Road, near Sankenahalli gate and drove the same in a rash and negligent manner and dashed against a tree, which was by the side of the road and caused death of Shivanna, Bililyamma, Basheer and caused bleeding injuries to C.Ws. 3 to 5, who were travelling in the said lorry sitting in the cabin. Two of them died at the spot and the third person died on the way to the hospital. C.Ws. 3 to 5 sustained grievous injuries. Therefore, the accused was charge-sheeted for offences punishable under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of IPC. The trial court took congnizance of the offence and registered the case. The prosecution in order to prove the guilt of the accused examined 10 witnesses as PWs 1 to 10 on its behalf and closed its side. The accused denied the incriminating evidence, which was appearing against him, but he did not choose to examine any witness on his behalf.

4. The stand taken before the High Court was reiterated in this appeal.

5. Learned counsel for the State on the other hand supported the order passed by the courts below.

6. Coming to the question whether there was any rash and negligence involved, evidence of the RTO (PW-10) is relevant. He has clearly stated that the accident did not occur on account of mechanical defects. The evidence of PWs. 1, 2 and 6 who were eye-witnesses shows that the vehicle was being driven at a very high speed. Significantly some of the PWs. were travelling in a lorry. PW-6 had stated that the vehicle was coming at a very high speed and that the road was quite wide and there was no traffic at the time of accident. It is to be noticed that the evidence of the witnesses clearly shows that the vehicle against a tree and the branches of the tree fell on it. From the evidence of PW-6 it appears that though it was rainy season but there was no rain at the relevant point of time.

7. Section 304-A applies to cases where there is no intention to cause death and no knowledge that the act done in all probability will cause death. The provision is direction at offences outside the range of Sections 299 and 300 IPC. The provision applies only to such acts which are rash and negligent and are directly cause of death of another person. Negligence and rashness are essential elements under Section 302-A. Culpable negligence lies in the failure to exercise reasonable and proper care and the extent of its reasonableness will always depend upon the circumstances of each case. Rashness means doing an act with the consciousness of a risk that evil consequences will follow but with the hope that it will not. Negligence is a breach of duty imposed by law. In criminal cases, the amount and degree of negligence are determining factors. A question whether the

accused’s conduct amounted to culpable rashness or negligence depends directly on the question as to what is the amount of care and circumspection which a prudent and reasonable man would consider it to be sufficient considering all the circumstances of the case. Criminal rashness means hazarding a dangerous or wanton act with the knowledge that it is dangerous or wanton and the further knowledge that it may cause injury but done without any intention to cause injury or knowledge that it would probably be caused.

8. As noted above, “Reshness” consists in hazarding a dangerous or wanton act with the knowledge that it is so, and that it may cause injury. The criminality lies in such a case in running the risk of doing such an act with recklessness or indifference as to the consequences. Criminal negligence on the other hand, is the gross and culpable neglect or failure to exercise that reasonable and proper care and precaution to guard against injury either to the public generally or to an individual in particular, which having regard to all the circumstances out of which the charge has arisen it was the imperative duty of the accused person to have adopted.

9. The distinction has been very aptly pointed out by Holloway J. in these words :

“Culpable rashness is acting with the consciousness that the mischievous and illegal consequences may follow, but with the hope that they will not, and often with the belief that the actor has taken sufficient precautions to prevent their happening. The imputability arises from acting despite the consciousness. Culpable negligence is acting without the consciousness that the illegal and mischievous effect will follow, but In circumstances which show that the actor has not exercised the caution incumbent upon him and that if he had, he would have had the consciousness. The imputability arises from the negligence of the civic duty of Circumspection.” (See In re : Nidamorti Nagabhusanam 7 Mad. H.C.R. 119)

10. When the factual scenario is considered in the light of evidence of the eye witnesses the inevitable conclusion is that the courts below have rightly found the accused guilty. The sentence of six months’ simple imprisonment and the fine imposed does not in any way appear to be irrational.

11. Vehicular accidents resulting in deaths and injuries is spiraling.

12. The Editorial under the heading “Road Traffic Injuries & fatalities and India – a modern epidemic” in Indian J. Med. Res.123, January 2006 contains some interesting observations. The relevant portions read as follows :

“The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on road safety on October 26, 2005 which invites Member States to implement the recommendations of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention; to participate in the first United Nations Global Road Safety Week; and to recognize the third Sunday in November of every year as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’. This resolution follows the publication of The World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention by the World Health Organization in 2004. This report highlights the fact that all over the world working age people are more likely to suffer hospitalization, permanent disability and death due to road traffic injuries than most other diseases. The situation in India is not very different.

About 82,000 persons were killed on Indian roads in 2002. Official statistics regarding serious injuries are not reliable as they underestimate the actual number, but it is estimated that the number of people hospitalized may be 15-20 times the number killed. In a do-nothing scenario, it is possible that India will have 1,20,000-1,30,000 road traffic fatalities in the year 2008 and possibly 1,50,000 – 1,75,000 in 2015. Our vision should aim at reducing the fatalities to less than 1,00,000 in the short term (2008) and less than 70,000 in the long term (2015).

xxx xxx xxx

Safety measures for the near future

xxx xxx xxx

Motor vehicle occupants : (i) Enforcement of seatbelt use laws countrywide; (ii) restricting travel in front seat of cars by children has the potential of reducing injuries dramatically; and (iii) bus and truck occupant injuries, fatalities; and injuries caused to other road users can be reduced significantly by enforcing strict observance of speed limit regulation on highways. Ensuring that bus time tables and truck movement schedules make it possible for drivers to observe speed limits with ease. Random speed checking on highways would help ensure such measures.

xxx xxx xxx

Road safety strategies – Long term

Traffic calming and speed control; (i) Aim at implementing speed control and traffic claming measures in all urban areas and at appropriate locations on rural highways by altering road design, vehicle monitoring through intelligent transport systems, and vehicle design by the year 2015. This measure is likely to give us the maximum savings in terms of lives and serious injuries; and (ii) segregated lanes for vulnerable road users and buses in urban areas. Non-motorized transport and buses must be provided segregated lanes on all major arterial roads in urban areas. India specific designs need to be developed and phase wise implementation plans drawn up for all cities.

xxx xxx xxx

Vehicle safely: (i) All vehicles sold in India should meet international crashworthiness standards by 2010; (ii) all buses and trucks should meet pedestrian impact standard by 2010; (iii) all urban buses to have low floors and automatic closing doors; (iv) crashworthiness standards must be developed for all indigenous vehicles by 2010 and implemented by 2012; (v) installation of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and other modern safety devices for assisting and controlling drivers; and (vi) driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. A long term strategy to reduce drinking and driving incidence to less than 10 per cent of all crashes needs to be drawn up for the next 10 yrs. Sensitization of the public to the extent to the problem. Institution of random roadblocks and checking on urban roads and rural highways. Ignition interlock on cars.”

13. In “Global Road Safety” certain revealing data have also been provided. They read as follows :

“THE COMING PLAGUE OF ROAD TRAFFIC INJURIES :

A PREVENTABLE BURDEN FOR RICH AND POOR COUNTRIES”.

Almost 1.2. Million people are killed each year and 20-50 million are injured or disabled, most people are unaware that road traffic injuries are a leading cause of death and disability.

In developing countries, death rates from vehicle crashes are rising, and disproportionately high in relation to the number of crashes. According to a report published in 2000

 Developing and transitional countries cumulatively represent over 85 per cent of all road traffic deaths

 Kenya has nearly 2,000 fatalities per 10,000 crashes. Vietnam has over 3,000 fatalities per 10,000 crashes.

 44% of all road traffic deaths occur in the Asia/Pacific area, which only has 16% of the total number of motor vehicles.

 At 71,495 and 59,927 total deaths, China and India, respectively, had the highest number of road fatalities in the world in 1995.-

 Pedestrian deaths represent 62% of all traffic fatalities in Lebanon. In most developing countries vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, bicycle and motor cycle riders, account for the majority of all fatalities.

 Eastern European countries represent 6% of motor vehicles, but 11% of crash fatalities worldwide.

 The Latin America/Caribbean region has the second highest crash costs behind Asia.

14. As developing countries increase vehicle use, road traffic injuries and expected to become the third leading cause of death and disability worldwide by 2020. In developing countries, each vehicle is much more lethal than the vehicles in developed countries, because it most frequently takes the lives not of vehicle occupants, but of vulnerable road users : pedestrians, cyclists. Many developing countries are increasing the rate of motorized vehicle use at up to 18% per year. In India, for example, there has been a 23% increase in the number of vehicles from 1990-1999 and a 60- fold increase is predicted by 2050.

15. The human toll is tragic. Survivors and family members are affected not only by an immediate death or disability, but sometimes a lifetime of psychological and physical suffering. Crashes often result in orphans, and some victims, as young as infants, spend the rest of their lives in medical facilities.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

16. In addition to the devastating human toll, the economic impact of road crashes is also enormous. Many of those injured or killed are wage earners; leaving families destitute and without means of support. Loss of wages, property damage, and other factors affected by road traffic crashes represented 4.6% of the gross national product of the United States in 1994. In developing countries, road traffic crashes represent 3-5% of the GNP. The estimated annual cost of road traffic crashes in developing countries exceeds $ 100 billion (US). This amounts to nearly double the total combined development assistance these countries receive every year from bilateral and multi-lateral government organizations. Globally, the estimated annual costs of road crashes are 500 billion (US).

THIS PROBLEM IS PREVENTABLE

17. We have the tools needed to combat this epidemic. In the developed nations, proven methods such as enforcement of laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reducing speed limits and requiring seat belts and restraints have shown significant reduction in traffic fatalities. Road design and road environment, vehicle design, and road safety standards are also strategies that successfully address traffic safety. For maximum impact for RTI’s a systems approach with multiple, scientifically proven prevention techniques must be employed. Education alone has been shown to be less effective, and often ineffective.

18. Proven interventions for developed countries require research, modification, and testing for developing countries. For example, developing countries face poorly designed and maintained roadways, unsafe vehicles, drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, lack of national policies, and inadequate enforcement. Success will require significant new resources supported by sustained political commitment.”

19. The inevitable conclusion is that the appeal is sans merit and deserves dismissal which we direct.