Battle Against Hit-and-Run Incidents
The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023 has introduced Section 106, a comprehensive law targeting hit-and-run incidents. This important addition underscores the importance of accountability on Indian roads. However, there was nationwide outrage regarding the controversial aspects of the new law related to hit-and-run cases. Truck drivers nationwide protested the heightened penalties in the newly enacted Criminal Code, expressing discontent with increased severity.
Section 106 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023
(1) Whoever causes 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 five years, and shall also be liable to fine; and if such act is done by a registered medical practitioner while performing medical procedure, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation. — For the purposes of this sub-section, “registered medical practitioner” means a medical practitioner who possesses any medical qualification recognized under the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 and whose name has been entered in the National Medical Register or a State Medical Register under that Act.
(2) Whoever causes death of any person by rash and negligent driving of vehicle not amounting to culpable homicide, and escapes without reporting it to a police officer or a Magistrate soon after the incident, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description of a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Essence of the Section:
1. Obligations for Reporting and Assistance:
Section 106(1) mandates immediate reporting of car accidents to the nearest police station, highlighting its critical role in ensuring prompt response. Individuals are also required to provide necessary assistance to the injured parties. This includes ensuring that the injured receives medical attention and facilitating the reporting process. The emphasis on immediate reporting and assistance reflects a commitment to humane and responsible behavior following a traffic accident.
2. Punishment of Hit and Run Case:
Individuals responsible for causing death through reckless or negligent actions, distinct from culpable homicide, may confront imprisonment for a maximum of five years and a fine. In cases where a hit-and-run incident leads to fatalities or when an individual causes death due to negligent driving and departs without reporting. they may potentially receive a sentence of up to ten years in prison, coupled with a fine.
The shift to new hit-and-run laws marks a significant change in approach and focus from previous legislation. Historically, individuals involved in hit-and-run cases faced charges under Section 304A of the IPC. which carried a maximum two-year imprisonment upon conviction. Although both provisions encompass the idea of negligence, Section 304A of the IPC specifically addresses negligent actions resulting in fatalities. Conversely, Section 106 of BNS expands its scope to cover occurrences and deaths caused by negligent driving.
Section 106 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023 is a game-changer in the fight against hit-and-run incidents. New hit-and-run laws signal a strict shift, starkly different from prior legal approaches, marking a significant paradigm change. The new legal system places a significant emphasis on deterrence, just compensation, and technological integration. This emphasis signals a clear commitment to addressing the complexities and shortcomings inherent in the previous legal system.
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