Kochi: Kerala High Court has ruled that a breathalyser test is mandatory for booking a person under drunken driving. The police can’t club dangerous driving charge along with drunken driving casually. A single bench passed the order while quashing a case registered against Renji George Cherian of Tiruvalla. Cops booked him for drunken driving (Section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act) and rash and negligent driving (section 279 of Indian Penal Code). The court observed: “What Section 279 contemplates is not driving or riding a motor vehicle with negligence, but something more. To constitute a penal offence, such driving or riding should be rash and reckless, endangering human life and that should be on a public way. It is not mere negligent driving or riding but to do so with culpable criminal negligence or proceed against the person for that offence”.
The case against the petitioner was that around 2.45 pm on June 16, 2013, he was found driving a car in a rash and negligent manner under the influence of alcohol. Tiruvalla police took him to a government doctor, who certified that he had consumed alcohol, but was not under the influence of alcohol. The court found that a breathalyser test was not conducted and that the offence of drunken driving was unsustainable. To prove rash driving, police produced statements of two police officers, who were stated to be eyewitnesses. After going through statements, the court said they only vaguely refer to negligent driving. Moreover, the statements are on printed forms in which only the personal details of the witnesses are filled in. Statements of witnesses should be constituted on factual basis, which should come voluntarily from the informant and the witnesses, the court said.