A multitude of cases emerge every day in India dealing with motor accident claims due to the vast increase in vehicular movements on the roads. Accidents occur when there is an element of negligence involved whilst driving vehicles and not following the proper and designated rules and regulations for vehicular movement. However, whether over speeding is the only sole element to constitute rash driving was placed before the Karnataka High Court in the matter of Moulasab s/o. Hasansab Karanachi Versus The State of Karnataka.

In the said Criminal Revision filed by the Petitioner challenging the judgment of the Sessions Court which upheld the judgment given by the Court of JMFC 1 at Hubballi. The Petitioner herein was the accused and found guilty by the Court of JMFC 1 at Hubballi for the offence under Sections 279, 304A and Section 134 r/w Section 187 of the Motor Vehicles Act. It was argued by the counsel for the Petitioner that there was no instance of over speeding as the road consisted of speed breakers and traffic signals at the place of the accident. While the Court refuted the contentions of the Counsel for the Petitioner, it stated that ‘rash driving’ does not merely infer to the vehicle being driven with high speed. The Hon’ble High Court referred to the judgment of the Apex Court in Ravi Kapur Vs. State of Rajasthan (2012) 9 SCC 284 which dealt with the constitution of an offence of negligence. The Court also relied on the Apex Court’s judgment in Mohd. Aynuddin v. State of A.P. (2000) 7 SCC 72 wherein it was observed as below :

“9. A rash act is primarily an overhasty act. It is opposed to a deliberate act. Still a rash act can be a deliberate act in the sense that it was done without due care and caution. Culpable rashness lies in running the risk of doing an act with recklessness and with indifference as to the consequences. Criminal negligence is the failure to exercise duty with reasonable and proper care and precaution guarding against injury to the public generally or to any individual in particular. It is the imperative duty of the driver of a vehicle to adopt such reasonable and proper care and precaution.”

Whilst dismissing the criminal revision petition on the grounds of lack of merit, the Hon’ble Court made the following observation:

“An act of driving done without due care and caution though not coupled with high speed still results into a rash driving. Therefore, in the instant case merely because there was said to be few speed breakers on the road and traffic signal near spot of the accident, by itself cannot be deduced that there was no rash and negligent driving on the part of the driver of the offending vehicle”

 

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Order: Moulasab Versus State of Karnataka