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Friday, February 13, 2009

Jail For Abetting Drunk Driving!

In a recent case in Mumbai, the Traffic Police arrested a co-passenger for abetment after they caught a drunk driver who tested positive and also had alcoholic content more than the permitted limits. The duo were served a fine of Rs 2000/- and a night in jail for the offense.

This is the first time that a person was booked and punished for abetting the crime of drunk driving. In this particular case the co-passenger himself was equally sloshed and wouldn't have been in a position to bother much about it. But the precedence has been set and next time someone is found driving drunk, his co-passengers, be it friends, wife or kids also go into the slammer even if they are totally sober or teetotalers.

As per the Indian Motor Vehicles act, Section 188, abetting drunk driving attracts the same punishment as drunk driving, A fine of Rs 2000/- and/or Jail time upto six months.

So what defines abetting drunk driving? Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code defines it as " A person abets the doing of a thing, who-

First: -Instigates any person to do that thing; or

Secondly: -Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly: -Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing."

In this particular case the co-passenger was arrested because the duo had drinks together. This is just another instance of the high handed attitude of the Police in our country. How does the co-passenger, who himself is drunk realize whether his driver is fit to drive or not?

Moreover if the person who is sitting with the drunk driver somehow aided the driver in drunk driving, what about the liquor manufacturer, the marketing agency which keeps the advertising of liquor alive by proxy, what about the pub owner, what about the steward or the bartender who served them, what about the government who gave the license or the permit to the pub owner, what about all the other patrons of the pub who were, with their own cheerfulness and enjoyment instigated our man to drink more, what about the music company and the singer of the record that was playing in the pub or the bar and creating an atmosphere congenial for drinking, What about the Glass manufacturer whose glasses the pubs were using, what about the manufacturer of the refrigerator which was used to chill the drinks or make ice, I can go on.

The point is that in some way or the other all these above people, industries or institutions abetted (aided) the drinking part of an otherwise perfectly responsible citizen. The man in fact, if you look closely, is the lowest link in the chain and our brave and socially conscious police books him. But the others get away scot-free and continue abetting the same crime for which once innocent citizens get punished and branded for life.

If someone is seriously interested in the welfare of this country he would go for the bigger fish, but, alas, that someone is himself guilty of abetting the bigger crime of the bigger fish. And there is no other way to present an eyewash/lip service to the society.

Screw the small fish.

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