New Hit-And-Run Law
The new hit-and-run law in India is a part of Section 106 of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, which establishes the punishment for ‘causing death by accident’. The new law imposes stricter punishments for those who run away from the hit-and-run accident scene. Section 106 is divided into two categories:
According to the first category, the guilty party faces a maximum seven-year jail sentence along with a fine if they cause death through any careless or reckless act that does not constitute culpable homicide. According to the second category, if someone escapes from the scene of an accident without reporting it to the authorities and causes death through any reckless or thoughtless act that does not constitute culpable homicide, they risk receiving a fine and up to 10 years in prison.
The new hit-and-run law imposes stricter penalties for drivers who run away from the scene of the accident. The law applies to private vehicle owners.
Before the introduction of Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, the person accused in hit-and-run cases was tried under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code. The penalties under the IPC were less severe, with imprisonment of up to two years only. The new law imposes stricter and more severe punishment for hit-and-run cases.
- HIT-AND-RUN CASES UNDER INDIAN PENAL CODE (IPC)
The penalties for HIT-And-RUN cases were mentioned in Section 279, 337, 338 and 304A.
- Section 279 of the IPC, a person could be found guilty of a crime based just on their reckless or careless driving, which could result in property damage, personal harm, or jeopardise public safety. Offenders were subject to a year in prison, a fine of up to 1000 rupees, or both in certain situations for committing the offence covered by this section
- Section 337 of the IPC, deals with the hurt caused by rash or negligent driving or acts that endanger the life or personal safety of people. Under this section, the offender is punishable with imprisonment for a term that can extend up to six months or is liable with a fine of 5000 rupees, or both in some cases.
- Section 338 of the IPC deals with rash or negligent driving that causes grievous hurt or endangers human life or the personal safety of the public. Under section 338 the offenders were punished with imprisonment of 2 years or a fine up to one thousand rupees, or both in some cases.
- Under 304A whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment up to 2 years or with a fine, or both in some cases.
- COMPENSATION UNDER MOTOR VEHICLES ACT –
Many people do not have the financial resources to pay for medical treatment or to cover the damages caused by these accidents, which lead to many fatalities and major injuries each year in hit-and-run incidents. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 includes provisions for compensating hit-and-run victims for their losses in the event of an accident.
- Section 161 , 162 ,163 and 164 Of the Motor Vehicles Act covers compensation for hit-and-run cases.
- Section 161(2) provides compensation for grievous hurt or death caused by hit-and-run cases. The act provides compensation of up to two lakh rupees in case of death because of the accident. And compensation of fifty thousand rupees in case of grievous hurt caused by the accident.
iii. Section 162 of the Act mentions the “scheme of the golden hour”. This section makes provision for cashless treatment of the victim during golden hour. (Golden hour is the first hour after the accident).
- Section 163 of the Act discusses the refund of certain cases of compensation paid under section 161.
- Section 163(1) mentions if a person is awarded compensation equal to Section 161 of the act for damages caused by the accident by any other law, the person will be liable to refund the amount received under Section 161 to the insurer.
- Section 163(2) lays down that the authority that is awarding the compensation will inquire and verify whether or not the compensation for damage under Section 161 has been awarded.
vii. Section 164 authorises the death and grievous hurt arising out of motor vehicle accident in case of no-fault liability compensation of rupees 5 lakhs and 2 and half lakh rupees is to be awarded to the victim respectively.
Outlook of the New Law.
The new law aims to improve road safety and support victims of hit-and-run accidents by providing additional rights and a more equitable legal process. A new rule will boost motorist accountability by imposing stiffer penalties for hit-and-run instances. The new Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita hit-and-run statute carries harsher penalties than the Indian Penal Code (IPC). When helping the injured, drivers fear mob violence. The Drivers may suffer harassment, extortion, unwarranted detention, and legal penalties, compounding their concerns.
The new regulation is being opposed by truck drivers across India due of its harsh penalties and punishments. Truckers had called a 3-day strike against the new hit-and-run rule.
- All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) petitioned the centre to revoke the bill, fearing truck drivers would be harassed.
The Driver concerns encompass stringent regulations and hefty penalties, both of which have the potential to induce financial distress.The new regulation may discourage existing chauffeurs and prospective entrants to the industry, which is cause for concern.False accusations placed against the Drivers could result in a severe ten-year penitentiary sentence.The drivers may be subject to extortion, harassment, imprisonment, and legal consequences, which would exacerbate the problems in the transportation industry.Automobiles that attempt to assist an injured individual run the risk of inciting mob violence out of concern for the communities or observers’ negative reactions.The way of life of truck carriers is jeopardized by the new legislation. Protests induce significant perturbations in supply chains and transportation networks.Petrol and essential commodity deliveries have been disrupted due to a three-day strike.More than 70% of the estimated 1.20 lakh vehicles, tempos, and containers in Mumbai are currently stationary, which could potentially disrupt the distribution of petroleum and critical supplies.In response to strikes and hit-and-run incidents involving lorry drivers, the Indian government had declared that the provision would be implemented following consultation. According to a news release from the Ministry of Home Affairs, prior to implementing Section 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, communication with the All India Motor Transport Congress would be required. Truckers’ concerns regarding Section 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita’s ten-year prison sentence and fine were deliberated by the Government of India with the All-India Motor Transport Congress. Section 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita will not be invoked until the government consults with the All-India Motor Transport Congress, as the new laws have not yet been implemented.To enhance road safety and victim rights, Section 106 of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita’s new hit-and-run legislation increases penalties. However, protests, traffic disruptions, and motorist indignation underscore the socio-economic repercussions. Transport workers’ concerns regarding the law’s effects are exacerbated by the apprehension of financial difficulties, false accusations, and mass violence. In order to achieve a harmonious equilibrium between driver welfare and road safety, it is imperative that the government and the All-India Motor Transport Congress work together to tackle these concerns. This will ensure fair implementation and mitigate disruptions to the industry.
I support the new law considering the number of road accidents that occur daily, the new penalties and fines imposed would act as a deterrent for all the drivers and it will help in reducing the number of road accidents . The report titled ‘Road accidents in India -2022’ reported 11.9% year-on-year alarming rise in accidents and a 9.4% increase in fatalities. There was a 15.3% surge in the number of people getting injured in 2022 against the previous year. Seeing the increasing rate of road accidents it was important for the legislature to take this step and increase the penalty and fine. The step taken by the government is against those drivers who do not follow the traffic rules and regulations. In the view of that , the opposition made by drivers against the law is wrong and I support the legislature amendment.
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