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STORY IN SHORT: BMW BLUES 

In a heart-wrenching incident that unfolded on a dusky evening in Chennai, a 22-year-old man lost his life after being struck by a luxury car while sleeping on a pavement, few kilometres away from his home in Besant Nagar, after an alleged fight with his wife. 

The driver? None other than Beeda Madhuri, the daughter of YSR Congress Party Rajya Sabha MP Beeda Masthan Rao. 

Following the Pune Porsche accident, this incident has ignited a discussion about influential individuals are getting away with bail.

THE NITTY-GRITTIES OF THE ACCIDENT                                            

On a Monday evening, tragedy struck when the MP’s daughter, Beeda Madhuri, allegedly ran her luxury BMW over a 22-year-old painter named Surya who was sleeping on a pavement in Chennai’s Besant Nagar area.

  • He was in an inebriated state and had fallen onto the road. When the car turned, it’s possible that the driver did not see him.
  • Madhuri reportedly fled from the accident spot immediately. Her friend, however, got out of the vehicle and was arguing with those rushed to the scene after the mishap.
  • Despite being rushed to a hospital by passers-by, Surya succumbed to his injuries at the Royapettah government hospital.
  • Madhuri, accompanied by her legal counsel, surrendered before the police on Tuesday morning. However, she was granted a station bail.

LEGAL CHARGES: NEGLIGENCE AND CONSEQUENCES                              

Beeda Madhuri was arrested by the Adyar traffic police under Section 304 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with causing death by negligence and accused could face penalties up to 2 years in jail. This offense is bailable, and hence Madhuri secured her release on bail.

Nevertheless, the IPC will be substituted by the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS), set to be implemented starting from 1st July which introduces two specific categories for "causing death by negligence". 

  1. The first category covers causing death through any reckless or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, carrying penalties of up to five years in prison and a fine.
  2. The second category pertains to causing death through reckless and negligent driving, not amounting to culpable homicide. Offenders who flee the scene without reporting to a police officer or magistrate could face imprisonment for up to 10 years along with a fine.

THE ROLE OF NEGLIGENCE IN INDIAN LAW                                           

Section 304 (A) of the IPC specifically addresses situations where death results from negligent acts. To establish negligence, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The accused owed a duty of care to the victim.
  2. Breach of Duty: The accused breached that duty through their actions or inaction.
  3. Causation: The breach directly caused the victim’s death.
  4. Foreseeability: The accused should have foreseen the risk of harm.

BAIL AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE 

Madhuri’s release on bail highlights the legal nuances. Bail is granted when:

  • the offense is bailable 
  • accused is not a flight risk 
  • not likely to tamper with evidence. 

In this case, Madhuri’s cooperation depicted by her surrender, lack of prior criminal record, and the nature of the offense influenced the decision.

However, according to a senior police official, it was a mistake for the police to allow the accused to leave on station bail instead of court bail. The officer noted that court bail would have ensured the retention of the car driver's medical report as well.

LIKE TALE IN ALTERED SHADE: PUNE PORSCHE CRASH                                 

In a similar fashion, on 19 May, a luxury Porsche car allegedly driven by a 17-and-a-half-year-old boy in a drunk state hit a motorcycle killing two techies in their 20s at Kalyani Nagar junction around 2:30 am.

The boy, who was at first let go after writing an essay, has been sent to a remand home and his custody has been extended to 25 June. The boy’s parents are in police custody in connection with a case related to alleged swapping of his blood samples at the state-run Sassoon General Hospital.


 

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