Pothole Kills Wife and the Husband is Booked for it in Bengaluru

Charged with causing wife’s death by negligence; police action shocks techie, lawyer calls cops’ act nonsense

Published: 20th September 2015 04:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th September 2015 08:10 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: The Bengaluru traffic police have filed a case of causing death by negligence against software engineer Om Prakash for the death of his wife, also a techie, in a pothole accident.

Death.JPGThe accident occurred on Thursday night when Om Prakash and his wife Stuti Pandey (25) were returning to their house in Banashankari on his Honda Activa after attending Ganesha pooja at a friend’s house in Marathahalli. When Om Prakash swerved to the right to avoid a pothole on the flyover at Devarabeesanahalli, Stuti lost her balance and fell on to the road and died.

Chandradar S R, police inspector of Airport Traffic police station, said that they had taken action against Om Prakash based on the postmortem report and preliminary investigation.

The inspector claimed that the pothole was too small to cause an accident. He blamed the husband for the mishap and said he could have avoided it if he was not overspeeding.

However, police seem to be unclear on whether to proceed with the charge against Om Prakash. M A Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), told Express that though they had registered a case of accident, they were  yet to ascertain the reason for the mishap— negligent driving or bad condition of the road or a technical problem with the vehicle.

“We will take action against the people concerned once the investigation is  completed. We have not come to any conclusion about the reason for the accident as the investigation is under process,” he said.

This is the second pothole death in as many months.

In August, 9-year-old Likhit Gowda died when his mother Sunitha swerved her two-wheeler to avoid a huge pothole in Yeshwantpur. Likhith who fell down was fatally knocked down by a speeding bus from behind. 

‘Was Riding at Normal Speed’

Om Prakash told Express: “I was riding the vehicle at normal speed. When I tried to avoid the pothole I lost control over the vehicle. I am shocked that the police have booked me for negligent driving. I am on my way to my native Satna district to perform the last rites of my wife.” The couple hail from Madhya Pradesh. Suneel, Om Praksh’s classmate, said that it was shameful that the traffic police have booked the accident victim instead of taking action against the authorities responsible for the maintenance of roads. “Once Om Prakash returns, we will consult legal experts,” he said.

Sections Invoked

Case has been booked under Sections 304A and 279 of IPC. Section 304A says that whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.  As per Section 279, whoever drives any vehicle, or rides, on any public way in a manner so rash or negligent as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs 1,000, or with both.

What Legal Experts Say

Senior counsel M T Nanaiah termed the traffic police action as nonsense. “The traffic police should have filed a complaint against the BBMP authorities under Section 304 of IPC for having left the road in a bad condition and causing death. But they did not do so because BBMP is another government body. The victim’s husband should file a complaint against the BBMP for causing death of his wife and also claim compensation. He should also file a petition seeking to quash the complaint registered by the traffic police in the appropriate court.”  Ravi B Naik, senior counsel, said the husband cannot be exempted for causing death by negligence. Ultimately, case cannot  sustain because witnesses will turn hostile and nobody supports the case. Finally, case will be closed, he said.

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