Hit and run cases in India

The crime which happens when the driver of a vehicle hits a another vehicle human being or property and he fails to provide his driving license name or address and does not leave any proof of the incident. According to the government data in the previous year around 20000 people lost their lifes in hit and run cases. This is because people who have witnessed such an accident fails to take the victims to the hospital fearing of the laws and the formalities that follow.

Hit and run

Today is a world where the population is increasing and also graphs show that every house atleast has any of the modes of transportation system or in simple terms where the vehicle population is drastically increasing.Section 161 of Motor vehicles Act talks about the Hit and Run cases . So in such a situations accidents are common to happen. Today after the gadget craze the youth is concentrated more on the number of fancy bikes which are delivered each day. Customized to go faster than the speed of light these bikes increase the adrenaline of the rider as well the pedestrians. A instance is where suppose you going out for any of our personal reason, you checked the road twice and later when you have reached half a bike comes and hits you, seriously injured nobody gives time to care about you thinking about the formalities, and bike or any other form of vehicle may not stop due to fear they are having in their minds or of the fear how the people would react to such an activity. These are the basic mentality of the people and that is why 40% of the accident which happen turn out to be a hit and run case. There are genuine cases where the accident has been caused by the knowledge of the accused in case where he is drunk or out of revenge or when he is out of mind or lastly the easiest way to commit a murder. More accidents happen in the highways The central government intends to convert 52,000 km of state highways into national highways. The upgrade – without instituting adequate safety measures on and along the national highways – would be undesirable, because the accidents and deaths in 2015 on national highways exceeded those on the state highways in 2014, by 4.5 and 6 percentage points, respectively.

The role of Samaritans

A Samaritan is a person who is charitable or who thinks about the society. A Samaritan in hit and run cases is the one who helps the needed in time and takes them to primary health care.
On January 21, the government issued standard operating procedures to prevent unjust examination of eyewitnesses to road accidents the standard procedures call for non-coercive, non-discriminatory, and time-bound inquiry into an accident, and state that the examinee cannot be compelled to disclose personal information. The guidelines also state that the samaritan does not have to pay for treatment unless she is related to the injured person.

Murder or homicide

This topic can be related with the actor Salman Khans case. In India more than 1000 cases are recorded or hit and run Under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 a specific provision was inserted to deal with this issue through Section 304A in which death is caused by negligence and prescribes a punishment which may extend to two years and with fine as well. Salman Khan case was interesting because it was said that hit and run cases will amount to culpable homicide. Section 304 of IPC is legally divided into two where the first part in meant for intention. It was held by the apex court that the person with the knowledge of rash and reckless driving or causes the death of any person can be held for homicide. Therefore it can be concluded that if you drive a car in rash and reckless manner and is of the knowledge that it may cause death or injury to someone may be held for culpable homicide. Therefore apart from the motor vehicle act there are other domains which govern the road activities.

Compensation for hit and run cases

The case of New India Assurance Company v. Vuyyuru veera Venkateswarama held the Compensation Fixed Under the Act. The hit and run insurance compensation is paid out from a Solatium Fund. This hit and run insurance fund is a scheme formed by the Central Government to compensate victims of hit-and-run car accidents.

How is the Fund administered?

Contributions to the Fund are made by the General Insurance Corporation according to an agreed formula and the latter nominates one of its offices or an insurance company in every district for settlement of claims. People who can claim compensation in  case of claims arising out of death of an accident victim, payment is made to the legal representatives of the deceased (as decided by the Claims Enquiry Officer). In the case of claims arising out of grievous hurt, payment is made to the person injured.

How to claim compensation for hit and run cases

As a hit and run victim or a legal representative of his, submit an application seeking compensation under this scheme in Form I along with a duly filled-in discharge receipt in Form II .

Also enclose an undertaking in Form V to the Claims Enquiry Officer of the Sub-Division or Taluka in which the accident takes place. This undertaking specifies that the amount of compensation received under the Scheme will be refunded to the insurer if the injured victim or the legal representative of the deceased receives any other compensation in lieu of this amount, or under any other existing provision by law

Ensure that the application is made within six months from the date of the accident.

An application made after six months, but before 12 months from the date, may be accepted by the Claims Enquiry Officer if he is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the delay. If, however, the Officer is not convinced and the application is rejected, the reasons for non-acceptance will be communicated to the you.

Procedures involved after the crime has happened: Check on all drivers and passengers; provide basic first aid and/or call for emergency medical help if needed Call the police; an official police record will help make sure evidence is preserved and all proper procedures are followed Exchange information, such as driver’s licenses, proof of insurance, and contact information Identify and talk to witnesses who can verify the facts of the incident Contact your insurance company, and the other driver’s insurance company

Cases when the accident has happened to unattended vehicles or immovable property. Most states recommend or it is the common sense of a prudent man that he has to take down any address which relates to the owner of the property which sustained damage and inform the incident as it is.

The future roads

Hit and run cases is a crime which cannot be eradicated completely rather certain steps can be taken to decrease the number of death tolls which rise from our roads. A project such as cashless treatment can be introduced where primary health is provide for the victim without taking any money or indulging in any formalities. Provide necessary equipment’s to evacuate the site after the accident has happened. We live in the era where technological advancements happen within a blink of the eye. Therefore big companies like Volvo Benz etc have introduced a scheme where the vehicle itself detects any obstacle in its path and either breaks accordingly or negotiates it. But the limitation is that accidents especially hit and run cases are not limited to prime vehicle it is also applicable to ordinary vehicles too. So the small budget companies should adopt innovative steps to avoid the crashes outside the factory. A country cannot grow if its population strength goes down due to road accidents. It is time for us to be both efficient and effective and to reduce the number of such cases and give the legal system some time to relax.

Abha Singh

Abha Singh is a former civil servant and presently an advocate practicing in the Bombay High Court. She is a renowned social activist who has done considerable work in the realm of woman’s rights, gender equality and justice. She has done an M.Phil on Child Rights from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Abha Singh was the third runner-up and the lead woman finalist in the Times of India Lead India Campaign in 2008. She was further awarded the Chevening Scholarship to attend the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her talk ‘Honour Killings in India and the Legal Complications of Section 498A” at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London received widespread acclaim. Abha Singh was also invited as a speaker at TEDx Oxbridge, conducted jointly by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in May, 2017. Sensing the call of duty beyond service, she gave up a successful career in the Government to serve a larger cause by donning the robes of the legal profession. Abha Singh obtained a law degree from Bombay University while working as a Government. Abha Singh took up the case of the two Palghar girls in right earnest when she learnt about their unlawful arrest by the Police for innocent comments on Facebook. Due to her perseverance the guilty cops were suspended and the girls were exonerated honorably. Abha Singh has been successfully pursuing the Salman Khan Hit-and-Run case to ensure that the rule of law is upheld and the youth are educated against the hazards of drunken driving.

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