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Bombay High Court says, ‘Speeding not an offence, rash driving is’



The Bombay High Court has upheld acquittal of a man whose car allegedly killed a cyclist and a bullock observing that driving a car speedily is not an offence; the act is punishable only if it is rash and negligent.

“Act of driving is punishable only when it is rash and negligent. Rashness implies speed which is unwarranted. Whereas the act of negligence involves not taking proper care and paying attention while driving,” observed Justice SM Modak early this month.

The HC was hearing appeal challenging acquittal of a Kuldeep Pawar
The HC was hearing an appeal filed by the State government challenging the acquittal of one Kuldeep Pawar.

According to the prosecution, on November 1, 2009, at 8.30am, Vasant Desai, owner of a bullock cart, and one Balaso Mane were cycling on a road near village Tasgaon. At the time, Pawar drove by in his Tata Sumo, at a speed, and allegedly dashed into the bullock and then into Mane. The police charged Pawar with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Pawar was acquitted on August 24, 2011. The state approached the HC challenging his acquittal. One of the passers-by testified that the car came speedily when it dashed against Mane and the bullock.

However, Justice Modak observed that the evidence has to be appreciated on the basis of other available materials.

Judge noted speed alone is not punishable
The judge noted that speed alone is not punishable unless the car is driven rashly and negligently.

The HC noted that the bullock cart owner and one of the eye witnesses gave completely opposite statements as far the directions of the bullock cart were concerned. That is, whether the art was heading south to north or vice-versa. The cart owner said he was going from north to south.

According to the spot panchanama, the bullock cart was lying on the southern side and facing the eastern flank. The panch witness, however, said that the bullock cart was found on the northern side of the road.

The HC noted that it could not conclude the directions in which the car, the bullock cart and the cyclist were going.

“With the assistance of both the sides (prosecution and accused), I am trying to understand the direction as per documentary evidence and the oral evidence. We have tried to understand it from various angles but we could not arrive at a particular conclusion,” noted justice Modak.

Advocate for Pawar said investigating officer is not an eye-witness
Aashish Satpute, advocate for Pawar, submitted that there were tea stalls at the accident spot; however, statements of none of these independent eye-witnesses were recorded by the police. The policeman, who was examined by the prosecution, is not an eye-witness to the incident and his evidence is only relevant to what he has seen after the incident, added Satpute.

The court felt that it was “really a strange state of affairs” — that, neither the Investigating Officer has prepared a map/rough sketch, nor “the trial court has taken pains in recording directions correctly in the evidence”.

“It is true that the consequences of the accident are the death of the bullock and the bicycle driver. For want of evidence, the trial court could not come to the conclusion about rash and negligent driving by the respondent. Even this court is unable to come to that conclusion for the above reasons,” said the HC while upholding Pawar’s acquittal.

National News

‘I Will Work Diligently’: Supriya Sule On Taking Charge As Working President Of NCP




Nationalist Congress Party’s new working president Supriya Sule vowed to work hard with the rest of the party members after she was appointed to the top post by her father Sharad Pawar on Saturday. Pawar named Sule and Praful Patel as the working presidents of the NCP, thus, sidelining Ajit Pawar.

Pawar made the announcement at a function to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Nationalist Congress Party here.

Sule will be in charge of NCP affairs in Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, and issues related to women, youth, students and the Lok Sabha.

By making Sule in-charge of Maharashtra, Pawar had effectively made nephew Ajit Pawar report to her on party matters, a move that could lead to unease in the party.

“I am grateful to NCP President Hon. Pawar Saheb and all the Senior Leaders, party colleagues, party workers and well wishers of for bestowing this huge responsibility of Working President along with Hon. @praful_patel Bhai.

“To my fellow members of the party, because of whom we have come this far,I will work diligently along with all of you to further strengthen the NCP and we collectively will serve the nation for the larger good of our fellow citizens,” Supriya Sule tweeted.

Ajit Pawar, who had joined hands with the BJP in 2019 and was sworn-in as Deputy Chief Minister in an early morning swearing in ceremony with Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister, appeared visibly upset with the announcement and left the party office here without interacting with the media.

An elated Patel said he was surprised by Pawar’s announcement and would continue to work for the party.

“I have been working alongside Pawar saheb since 1999. So, this is nothing new for me. Of course, I am happy at being elevated as Working President. I will continue to work to increase the footprint of the party,” Patel said.

Pawar also made Patel party in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Goa, and Rajya Sabha.

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Nashik: Madhavi Salve Creates History as First Female MSRTC Bus Driver




Madhavi Salve has made history by becoming the first woman to drive a bus for the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) on the Nashik to Sinnar route.

This momentous occasion took place when six women were inducted as bus drivers-cum-conductors into the MSRTC on June 6-7, marking a significant milestone in the state’s public transport history.

Madhavi’s Journey

Madhavi Salve, a 34-year-old mother of two, originally from Mahiravani village in Trimbakeshwar taluka had been driving a light commercial vehicle since 2016. She expressed her gratitude towards the warm welcome she received from her male colleagues at the MSRTC depot in Sinnar.

Salve’s journey to becoming a bus driver has been fueled by her passion for driving buses and her determination to break gender barriers. Despite facing skepticism from some friends and relatives, she pursued her dream with the support of her family.

MSRTC’s Recruitment

As many as 206 women drivers had qualified in a direct recruitment scheme in 2019, and so far 28 of them have been recruited. Since their recruitment process began in 2019, these women have undergone rigorous training and tests on MSRTC buses.

The MSRTC, which has a fleet of more than 16,000 buses, already has more than 5,500 women conductors in its ranks. A total of 12 women drivers have been recruited. Among them, four are serving at Sinnar depot, three at Pimpalgaon depot, two at Peth depot, and one each at Lasalgaon, Peth, and Kalwan depots in Nashik district.

This progressive step by the MSRTC signifies their commitment to gender equality and opening up new opportunities for women in the transportation sector.

They officially joined the service in June and are now proudly serving passengers with the slogan “Pravashyanchya Sevesathi” (for service to passengers).

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National News

Bengal Panchayat Polls: Tension Mounts In Murshidabad Over Murder Of Congress Worker




Tension mounted in pockets of Murshidabad district in West Bengal on Saturday following the murder of a local Congress leader. State Congress president and Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has alleged that Fulchand Seikh (42) was shot at from point-blank range in Khargram on Friday killing him on the spot.

“Friday was the first day for filing of nominations for the forthcoming state panchayat polls which started with the death of a Congress worker. I will be going to the spot today and interacting with the members of the victim’s family,” he said. He also alleged that Seikh was sitting in front of his residence along with his son when a group of miscreants led by local Trinamool Congress leader Rafiq attacked and killed him by shooting from point-blank range. “Three others who tried to save him were also assaulted by the ruling party activists,” Chowdhury claimed.

TMC denies any and all involvement

Although the district Trinamool leadership has denied their involvement with the incident, tension continued to prevail in the district. The State Election Commission has sought a detailed report from the Murshidabad district administration on the matter. This morning, the district police arrested two persons in connection with the gruesome murder. Those arrested are Kajal Sheikh and Safique Seikh. Congress leadership has alleged that both were actively associated with the state’s ruling party.

Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Suvendu Adhikari has launched a scathing attack against the state administration over the gruesome murder.

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