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Arrest drunk drivers, seize vehicles: HC

Holding that the court cannot remain a silent spectator with folded hands when thousands of fellow citizens were being killed due to drunk driving, the Madras High Court on Friday issued a slew of directions to the Tamil Nadu police chief, including arresting those driving while under the influence of alcohol, revoke their licence and seize their vehicles.

Arrest drunk drivers, seize vehicles: HC
Representative image


If the court shirked its responsibilities in this regard, it would be an injustice to the society done by the Constitutional Court, said Justice N Kirubakaran while passing orders on an appeal moved by an accident victim who was left paralysed and also mentally unstable owing to drunk driving.

“This court has to travel beyond its jurisdiction to pass novel, unconventional and remedial directions as a Constitutional Court to protect fundamental rights of citizens in the interest of the society,” he said.

Justice Kirubakaran directed the police to subject the drivers for breathalyser test for alcohol detection and invoke Section 279 of the IPC for drunk driving.

Directing the State transport authorities to revoke the licence, the judge also asked the authorities to invoke Rule 21(16) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, to disqualify drunk drivers from holding driving licence.

The court also directed constitution of special units/wings to check drunk driving, seize the vehicles of drunk drivers and invoke provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act and IPC in case of accidents involving drunk driving.

He also sought the Centre to direct the automobile manufacturers to install ‘alcohol sensing ignition interlocking devices’ along with holding mass media campaigns against drunk driving by roping in celebrities.

He asked the police to implement the appropriate legal provisions to prevent drunk driving and not take advantage of the directions and harass motorists. “Though it may appear that the remedial directions issued by this court are very harsh, severe, disproportionate and excessive, it is the need of the hour to implement all available provisions in law to curtail the avoidable, dangerous menace,” Justice Kirubakaran.

The judge directed the DGP to file a report on the number of cases filed for drunk driving and persons arrested every month in the first week of succeeding month. The case was posted to April 6 for filing the first compliancereport.

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