33 drunken drivers challaned on Holi, jailed for one month in Chandigarh
Unrestrained and overboard Holi revelry using alcohol to get a high turned into a traumatic hangover for 33 motorists, some of them college students, who were challaned for drunken driving on Thursday and sentenced to one month jail by the court of chief judicial magistrate Anubhav Sharma on Friday.
The sentence left the offenders and their families shellshocked with some of them even trying to flee the court.
However, the CJM had ensured that a large number of cops had been called in and the situation remained under control.
The licences of all 33 have also been suspended for six months.
A total of 107 challans for drunk driving had been issued on Thursday and all 33, who turned up, expected to be scolded, at worst.
The usual practice
The usual practice in such cases is that the court directs the offender to stand till the rising of the court or makes him watch videos on how to shun alcohol.
The law though is clear. Under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, anybody found driving or attempting to drive a vehicle above the permissible limit of alcohol in the blood (30mg/100 ml) can be imprisoned up to six months or levied a penalty of Rs 2,000, or both.
All those jailed had a much higher alcohol content in their blood than the legal limit, the alcometer reading had revealed.
The rest of those challaned on Holi did not turn up and some in fact did not appear before the court after hearing about the punishment being meted out.
During the day, 36 offenders booked for drunken driving sometime previously were released after being fined ` 2,000.
“People don’t feel comfortable even in visiting their neighbours on Holi. Hooligans need to be taught a lesson so that they think twice before they repeat the offence,” observed the CJM.
‘Marriage of son in limbo’
Amlavati Devi, whose husband was among those jailed, told the cops that the marriage of their son was scheduled next week and the court decision had turned their life upside down.
A college student was among those jailed. On his plea that his future would be spoiled on being jailed, the CJM supported his order by saying, “The conviction is a lesson. You should not be just worried about your own future, but need to be sensitised to the future of the country.”
Another city college student, who was challaned for the second time for drunk driving on Thursday, has been given six-month jail.
‘I was tricked into drinking’
The judge also refused to accept the argument of another accused, a Himachal resident, who contended that he had been made to drink alcohol mixed with apple juice. “I do not drink. I was tricked into drinking alcohol. I have just been blessed with a son two days ago. Please spare me,” he pleaded, but failed to persuade the CJM.
SSP traffic Maneesh Chaudhary commenting on the usual procedure followed by the court in drunk and driving cases said, “Summary trial takes place in the court of the CJM. The court gives its decision after hearing evidences of both the accused and police. The court also takes note of the alcometer report.”