CHENNAI: The First Bench of Madras High Court has treated a portion of the order of a single judge on drunken driving as a separate PIL and decided to hear it itself. The order relates to the 16-point queries raised by the judge with regard to enforcement of prohibition while hearing an appeal for enhanced compensation filed by relatives of two road accident victims. The accident claims appeal, however, will be heard by the single judge as usual, the Bench said.
In its brief order on Friday, the First Bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice M Sathyanarayanan said it was of the view that prohibition was a policy decision to be taken by the government. The real concern is a cocktail of drinking and driving, which causes accidents, the bench said and impleaded union transport secretary and NHAI as parties in the case, besides the State authorities, so that they can place on record the steps taken to avoid drunken driving and related offences.
While passing orders on Wednesday last on the appeals, Justice N Kirubakaran observed that when even drinking water was scarce in most parts of India, the other water -- alcohol - flowed aplenty everywhere in which many families were drowning. Liquor is a poison to society and the basic reason for many social evils. In spite of this, governments are opening many liquor shops and bars with the sole aim of getting revenue, he said.
B Ram Kumar and B Arun Kumar, riding a two wheeler, met with a fatal accident involving an MTC bus on LB Road in Adyar in 2011. Post-mortem report stated they were drunk. The Motor Accidents Tribunal awarded compensation of Rs 11.34 lakh to the family of Ram Kumar and Rs 9.25 lakh to the family of Arun Kumar, the pillion rider. Demanding more compensation, the legal heirs preferred the present appeals.