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All About Section 279 IPC: Rash Driving

The introduction of automobiles gave the opportunity to enjoy a new experience and learn a new skill. As it is also a pathway that opened various employments to the needy, even for the higher class of the society to own individual vehicles. But to this, it was also a gateway to various incidents causing death, grievous hurt, severe accidents, and other damages. To this, our legislature framed provisions and laws to prevent such happenings to occur further. But still at present India face such incidents where these laws come into action and provide us with the appropriate remedy.

What is rash or negligent driving?
Rash driving or negligent driving seems to be a small concept but from a legal perspective, it includes various aspects. Even if Section 279 IPC (Indian Penal Code). completely defines the act of rash driving or riding on a public way, there are other provisions mentioned under IPC that are necessary to consider. These are Sec 337 IPC (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), and 338 of IPC (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

Section 279 IPC - rash driving or riding on a public way
Whenever an individual drives a vehicle without following the driving guidelines, he seems to be causing a rash and negligent act. Under this provision, inconsiderateness might turn into the element for choosing impulsiveness or carelessness with respect to the driver, in any case, simple driving fasta doesn't add up to rash driving.

Whenever the driver is capable to control the speed of the vehicle or when the street on which he is driving appears to be not crowded, then, at that point, the demonstration of the driver won't comprise rash and negligent driving. Although, at present in some cases, the speed limit for the vehicles is provided by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways which is quite high than the normal speed in comparison to those roads that don't belong to the category of the high ways, in such cases driving at high speed is mandatory and it will not hold the driver at risk for the offense of rash driving under sec 279 of Indian Penal Code. But assuming that an individual drives a vehicle on street the without due care and consideration, he will be considered guilty of committing the offense under this Section.

Punishment for Section 279 IPC
In case of violating the provision mentioned under Section 279 IPC, the offender will be punished with imprisonment which may extend upto six months, or with a fine which may amount to one thousand rupees or both.

Case: Raghavan Pillai vs State AIR 1954
In this case, the accused was driving a truck along the divider of a straight road at a high speed with an intention to keep its speed similar to that of a train that was running parallel to the road. The truck was loaded with heavy bags and also two persons sitting on the top of the bags.

All of a sudden three bullock carts approached from the opposite direction along the appropriate side of their way. To this, the accused turned his truck towards the right of the road to allow the bullock carts to pass, but unfortunately, it resulted that the truck overturned causing the death of one of the people sitting on the top and grievous hurt to the another.

It was held that the accused was guilty under sections 279, 304A, 337, and 338 IPC.

Section 337 IPC: Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others.
In the event that the thoughtlessness or carelessness of any individual in carrying out any act ends up being a danger to the wellbeing or life of others, the wrongdoing is culpable under this provision. The consequence of such an act adds up to as long as a half-year detainment or a 500 rupees fine or both relying upon the act committed. It falls under cognizable and bailable offense. It can likewise be compounded by the victim(s) assuming the court grants.

In issues of such offenses, bail can be obtained from the police station from the officer-in-charge. The prescribed bail bond should be executed before the complaint is sent to a magistrate.

Case: Muhammed Abdul Kareem Faisal v. The State Of Kerala, 5th February 2018 
In this case, where an Individual (A1) was exploring a boat inappropriately with travelers with the knowledge that might cause the boat to get overturned in the lake,  and it happened which resulted in the demise of two people.

The boat belongs to the petitioner. The petitioner runs a hotel on an island. It was alleged that the accused who has entrusted the boat with A1, lacks the skill of navigating a boat which led to the occurrence of such an incident where the speed of the boat resulted in it turning over.

The said facts do not fall under an offense under section 280 IPC against the petitioner. The individual who was navigating the boat (A1) is the one in particular who can be blamed under Section 280 IPC. Comparable is the situation with respect to the offenses under Sections 304A and 337 IPC moreover.

To welcome the offense under Section 337 IPC, there ought to be impulsiveness and carelessness or in other words, rashness and negligence with respect to the blamed and the said denounced more likely than not caused hurt too. Here in the current case, the petitioner was absent from the boat and he was not exploring the boat.

This is the situation with an offense under Section 304A IPC where death must've likewise happened. At the point when the petitioner was not instrumental in navigating the boat and causing hurt or demise, the mentioned offenses under the IPC won't be thought of as substantial.

Section 338 IPC: Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others
Whoever makes terrible or grievous hurt any individual by doing any act so carelessly which could lead to the consequence of endangering the human life, or the individual security of others. An individual or individuals causing such an act shall be punished with imprisonment up to two years or a fine of one thousand rupees or both.

How these sections are inter-linked?
When there are incidents involving rash driving as well as injury amounts to hurt, then all the three sections Sec 279, 337, 338 IPC will be applicable. 

In case when one knocks on one vehicle or person and ran away. Such act is known as Hit and Run which is defined under Section 161 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. Under such conditions the injured person can make a police complaint within a reasonable time also in case of heavy injury the recovery time will also be considered under the reasonable time period.

After the complaint has been made the police arrest the person who did the act, and will be presented before the court but in such circumstances bail will be granted and the person will be released on bail. The victim can also claim the expenses and compensation for the damage that occurred along with the medical bills attached with the FIR, it will be granted with the permission of the court as such provision is mentioned under Section 163 Motor Vehicle Act 1988.

National Insurance Company Limited Vs Pranay Sethi
In this case, the Supreme Court laid down guidelines for assessing compensation concerning the prospects of the deceased where the deceased is self-employed or has a fixed or permanent salary. It was held that compensation should be just in nature and shall be equity, fair, and reasonable.

The guidelines given in the Sarla Verma case were analyzed, and the Court added a wide perspective to this. The additions were extended to the deceased not having permanent jobs also. The Court focuses on the need for a uniform principle of standardization for the assessment of compensation.

However, the Court ruled the benefits to others also, like, 
In the case of the deceased who had a permanent job (salaried) then if his age is below 40 years, between 40-50 years, and between 50-60 years the additions of 50%, 30%, and 15% were to be made to the prospects of the deceased respectively.

If the deceased was self-employed or had a fixed salary, then if his age is below 40 years, between 40 and 50 years, and between 50-60 years the additions of 40%, 25%, and 10% were to be made respectively.

In case, if there was any loss of consortium, loss of estate, or funeral, then he should be awarded 40,000, 15000, and 15000 respectively.

Further, the Court decided that the amounts shall be increased every 3 years at a rate of 10%.

When did Section 279 IPC come into action?
To enter under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code, one more perspective to be considered is riding carelessly or negligently in a public way. A public way implies a bustling street, passage, or a quiet populated which is ordinarily utilized or is opened for access by the common individuals to walk or go by a vehicle for example footpaths, streets, roadways, highways.

It is a right of easement conceded to the overall population to move openly on such pathways, an act shall not lead to an outcome of a physical issue or injury but when an individual drives vehicle in any such way utilized by people in general, carelessly or negligently making hurt or injury any individual not leading to the death of the individual, whether purposely or accidentally, then, at that point, the driver of the vehicle will be punishable under section 279 of Indian Penal Code.

How to file/defend your case for IPC 279 offense?
There are two ways available to file a case under section 279. An application can be given orally or written to the Police in charge to register an FIR. Or one can visit the nearest police station within the jurisdiction to get a zero FIR registered. In case the FIR is denied by the police officer in charge, the applicant can send the information in writing or by post to the Superintendent of Police concerned.

If the Superintendent of Police finds the reason to justify that the office committed is cognizable, then he will investigate or assign a lower office for further procedure, and will also possess all the power of an investigating officer.

A complaint can be filed to the magistrate orally in court or in a written format under section 200 of the CrPC. Once the complaint is submitted the magistrate will conduct a hearing, deciding upon the issue of cognizance. In this channel, the informant and the witnesses shall be examined on oath in front of the magistrate. 
Conviction sentence not to affect career and not be treated as a remark for employment: Karnataka High Court

Devendrappa H. v. State
Facts
The petitioner was driving KSRTC transport and in this manner caused a mishap by running against a private transport because of rash and negligent driving. The petitioner was tried in the Court of JMFC, Belthangady, for the offenses culpable under Sections 279 and 337 of IPC, held liable and condemned to two months straightforward detainment and a fine of Rs1, 000/ - with a default sentence time of 15 days detainment corresponding to offense under Section 279 IPC, i.e, Penal Code, 1860, and two months detainment with fine of Rs 500/ - and a sentence period of 15 days for the offense under Section 337 IPC. The preferred appeal was dismissed.

Arguments
The counsel on the behalf of the petitioner stated that the accident was caused due to the narrow width of the road and not due to rash driving with this he also provided a photograph of the same road. To this petitioner may be just subjected to a fine with an observation that the conviction is not a stigma to his employment.

The council on behalf of the respondent stated when there is no scope for appreciation of evidence, another view cannot be taken with regard to the accident and there is no scope for reducing the quantum of sentence also.

Judgment 
The court determined both the sections which stated that Section 279 IPC concludes imprisonment of upto six months and a fine of upto Rs. 1000 or both while Section 337 states imprisonment upto six months or a fine upto Rs. 500 or both. The court thus held that Therefore having regard to the sentencing structure provided in both the sections, I am of the opinion that the sentence may be confined to a fine only instead of subjecting the petitioner to imprisonment.

Conclusion
At present, the world cannot be on its feet, vehicles have become an essential part of the economy as well as for individuals. But following the rules was never impossible. Our Legislature does provide its efforts in strengthening the provisions, also it will be of no use if the citizens do neglect it purposely. So it takes nothing to travel at a reasonable speed, instead, it saves a life for both the one who is without wheels on the footpath or at the zebra crossing and the person who is driving the other vehicle.

Reference:
  • https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1270101/
  • https://indiankanoon.org/doc/8426527/
  • https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1402213/#:~:text=%E2%80%94Whoever%20causes%20hurt%20to%20any,hundred%20rupees%2C%20or%20with%20both. 
  • https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1721129/#:~:text=%E2%80%94Whoever%20causes%20grievous%20hurt%20to,thousand%20rupees%2C%20or%20with%20both. 
  • https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5ac5e3264a93261a1a73955a

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