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HomeIndiaOdisha police slaps IPC section against drunk drivers to inflate conviction |...

Odisha police slaps IPC section against drunk drivers to inflate conviction | Bhubaneswar News

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha police have started imposing section 279 (rash and negligent driving) of the IPC against drunken drivers to inflate the overall conviction rate in the state, which is at the bottom in the country.
Until recently, the cops were sending prosecution reports (PR) to lower courts against drunk drivers under section 185 of the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act. But, PR is not treated as an FIR, nor does it end in conviction. Such cases are normally disposed of by courts following imposition of certain fine amounts on the violators.
In October, Odisha police asked superintendents of police (SPs) to add section 279 of the IPC along with the 185 of MV Act to ensure that the case is treated as an FIR. Police said an FIR can be registered against cognisable crimes falling either under the IPC or under the Special and Local Laws (SLL).
Only IPC or SLL sections linked to an offence result in conviction. MV sections end in payment of fine, which is not treated as conviction. “In many recent disposal of drunken driving cases in lower courts, the drunken drivers were termed as convicts in the judgments only because of the use of IPC section against them by the police, Sidharth Das,” a senior lawyer in Bhubaneswar said.
Sources in Odisha police said 1,000 drunken driving cases ended in conviction in the state in the last three months. Angul, Khurda and Jharsuguda districts topped with 280, 230 and 130 convictions. But only 600 criminal cases resulted in conviction in the state in 2021, police sources said.
“Almost all the drunken driving cases resulted in conviction after we imposed the IPC section. Our aim is to minimise road accidents and fatalities,” said SP (Khurda) Siddharth Kataria.
Retired police officers said use of the IPC section in case of drunken or negligent driving will affect the career of students, passport applicants and job seekers as they would be branded as convicts. “This will certainly inflate the conviction rate but jeopardize the career of students and job applicants,” said Pradip Swain, a retired DSP.
Swain said the motive of the Odisha police is to push the general conviction rate by ensuring quick conviction in drunken driving cases. “Even if we seriously lag to ensure conviction in heinous crimes, the faster convictions in petty drunken driving cases would help the police increase the statistics,” Swain said.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the conviction rate stood at 5.7% in Odisha, the second lowest after Assam’s 5.6%. Police officials defended their move. “So far nobody has challenged our action. Conviction would act as a deterrent against drunken driving,” a senior police official said.

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