Terming drunken driving a 'menace' to the society, the Supreme Court today said that those driving vehicles under the influence of alcohol should not get away with minor punishment and fine.
The top court said pedestrians are not safe in cities with late night parties followed by drunken driving becoming a way of life among the urban elite.
The court made the remarks in its final verdict in the BMW hit-and-run case, convicting 34-year-old Sanjeev Nanda under the stringent provision of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for mowing down six people, including three policemen, with his car on Lodhi Road in South Delhi in 1999.
"Drunken driving has become a menace to our society. Everyday drunken driving results in accidents and several human lives are lost, pedestrians in many of our cities are not safe. Late night parties among urban elite have now become a way of life followed by drunken driving," Justice KS Radhakrishanan said.
The top court felt that the 1999 BMW hit-and-run case should be an eye opener for what should be done in future in such situations. Justice Radhakrishanan said such incidents are bound to increase as there is no safety for pedestrians on roads. "Punishment meted out to a drunken driver, is at least a deterrent for other such persons getting away with minor punishment and fine. Such incidents are bound to increase with no safety for pedestrians on the roads," the court said while asking Nanda to pay a fine of Rs fifty lakh and to do community service for two years.
The top court also said that all government and private hospitals near national highways should be ready and equipped with ambulances, doctors and hospital staff to deal with such road accidents. The court also wants bystanders to help victims instead of just watching.