30-year-old Utsav Bhasin was sentenced to two years in prison for causing the death of a human being through negligent or rash driving in South Delhi. Additionally, he was also directed to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation for the family of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for the other person he injured.
“The sentence for killing a cow is five, seven or 14 years in different states, but the sentence for causing the death of a human being by rash or negligent driving is only two years,” the additional sessions judge Sanjeev Kumar couldn’t help pointing out, as reported by Hindustan Times.
On the night of 11 September 2008, Utsav Bhasin – the son of a Haryana-based industrialist and a former BBA student – had crushed Anuj Chauhan and injured his friend, Mrigank Srivastava, a journalist, under his BMW car near Moolchand in South Delhi. Chauhan succumbed to his injuries in a city hospital, while Srivastava survived. Subsequently, Bhasin tried fleeing to Chandigarh but was arrested from ISBT Kashmere Gate.
Though the Court had found him guilty in May this year, the quantum of punishment was pronounced only on Saturday. Bhasin has been granted statutory bail, enabling him to file an appeal in the high court. His bail bond was fixed at Rs 50,000 with the surety of a like amount.
Bhasin was earlier cleared on culpable homicide, which provides a maximum punishment of 10 years jail time.
In the Court’s judgement, additional sessions judge Sanjeev Kumar could not help but observe the unfairness of the Indian judicial system which grants two years jail time to someone who has caused the death of another human being, but up to 14 years imprisonment for killing a cow.
He said that a copy of the judgement must be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for him to consider enhancing the punishment prescribed for such offences under Section 304A (causing death by negligence.—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) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Additional sessions Judge Kumar also quoted a song from the movie ‘Jindagi Aur Toofan’ to buttress his point – “Aadmi chahe toh taqdeer badal sakte hai, poori duniya ki woh tasveer badal sakte hai, aadmi soch toh le uska irada kya hai” (If they want, human beings are capable of changing fates and the entire picture of the world – as long as they have a strong resolve to do so)”
He termed it “unfortunate” that even the capital city of the country does not have exclusive non-motorised vehicle lanes on most roads.
As reported by The Indian Express, he referred to the statistics of road accidents in India and said, “Every minute, an accident takes place. Every four minutes, a person dies in an accident. Human life is precious. Road users have a fundamental right to life and liberty, including the right to safety under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is the duty of the state to ensure safety of people on roads… it cannot shy away from its duty in any circumstance.”
The Logical Indian community is in solidarity with the observations of the Delhi Sessions Court. It is unfortunate and disheartening that an act which takes the life of another human being attracts a lesser punishment than one which kills an animal.
Note: The title of the article previously did not mention that the statement was made by the Sessions Judge and it has thereafter been corrected.