A Delhi court has set aside the one-year jail term of a man, who was convicted for causing death of a person due to his negligent driving, saying he did not get meaningful legal assistance during trial.
Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Vrinda Kumari remanded the case back to the magisterial court with a direction that it be decided afresh and observed that providing an accused with the services of a lawyer is “not an empty formality”.
“It is well settled that the accused must be properly represented by a counsel at every step of trial and providing accused with services of a lawyer is not an empty formality.
“In these circumstances, where the accused did not get meaningful legal assistance during recording of testimonies of material witnesses i.e prosecution witnesses 2 and 3 (police constables) the Court is convinced that the appellant (driver) should be granted an opportunity to effectively cross-examine these witnesses,” the ASJ said.
“The impugned judgement and order on sentence are set aside and case is remanded back to the trial court with a direction that appellant convict shall be granted opportunity to cross- examine prosecution witnesses (police constables) …the trial court shall adjudicate the matter afresh,” the judge said.
The court’s order came on an appeal filed by truck driver Rajpal, who was driving his vehicle allegedly in a rash and negligent manner in 2012 causing death of a cyclist, against the magisterial court’s order which had convicted him under section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC and had sent him to jail for one year.
The sessions court noted that the prosecution witnesses were not properly cross examined by the driver’s counsel.
“Having gone through the entire record, the court is convinced that proper cross examination of prosecution witnesses was must for bringing out the truth,” it said.
In his appeal, the driver had contended that he did not get proper opportunity to defend himself and that it was the cyclist who was in hurry and accident took place because of his rashness.
( Source – PTI )