The Himachal Pradesh High Court has asked the state government to put an end to the menace of drunken driving in the state, especially on highways.
A division bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol has made it clear that drunken driving is unacceptable, according to a judgment provided to the media Wednesday.
“We ourselves have noticed that while driving from Kalka towards Solan on the (Chandigarh-Shimla) national highway, especially on holidays, tourists can be seen standing on the roadside consuming liquor,” said the judgment delivered October 14.
“This practice must be stopped,” it added.
The court also directed making of endorsement on driving licences for violation of the rules.
“All concerned should ensure that whenever a person is ‘challaned’ (fined) an endorsement is made on the driving licence and appropriate database is maintained to ensure that repeat offenders can easily be traced,” it said.
The judges also directed making available at least 20 alcohol-detection analysers each at Shimla, Mandi, Kangra, Solan and Kullu districts, and 10 each in the remaining districts.
Shimla, Mandi, Kangra, Solan and Kullu districts are known for popular tourist resorts.
Five youths belonging to high-profile families of Punjab were arrested in August for assaulting people under the influence of liquor in Dharampur town in Solan district.
Among those arrested is a brother of a legislator of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), while one is son of a former information commissioner of Punjab and a serving officer with the electricity department, police said.
The Himachal Pradesh assembly in April passed a bill – the Criminal Law (Himachal Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2011 – that made drunken driving a criminal offence.
According to a report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), drunken driving is a major factor in road accidents. “Almost 99 percent of the accidents that occur outside cities are due to drunken driving and there is no check on this.” it said.