The court passed the order while quashing a case registered against Renji George Cherian of Tiruvalla.

Breathalyser test mandatory to book persons under drunken driving Kerala HC
news Legal Friday, March 31, 2017 - 09:32

Kerala High Court on Thursday ruled that a breath analysis test is mandatory for booking a person under drunken driving. 

A single bench passed the order while quashing a case registered against Renji George Cherian of Tiruvalla, reports Deccan Chronicle. The case against the petitioner was that he was found driving a car in a rash and negligent manner under the influence of alcohol. It occurred around 2.45pm on June 15, 2013.

The police took him to a government doctor. He certified that he had consumed alcohol, but was not under its influence. The court found that breathalyser test was not conducted in the case and that the offence of drunken driving was unsustainable. The court said that Section 279 implies more that just driving a motor vehicle with negligence. It observed, “To constitute a penal offence, such driving or riding should be rash and reckless, endangering human life and that shouldn't be on a public way. It's not mere negligent driving or riding but to do so with culpable criminal negligence or proceed against the person for that offence.” 

The police had booked Renji for drunken driving which falls under Section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act and rash negligent driving under Section 279 of Indian Penal Code. To prove rash driving, police produced statements of two police officers, who were stated to be eyewitnesses. After going through the statements, the court said they only vaguely refer to negligent driving. The statements are on printed forms in which only the personal details of the witnesses are filled in, but it should be constituted on factual basis, the court said.

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