SN HUSSAIN vs STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH Case Summary (1972 SC)

SN HUSSAIN vs STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH Case Summary (1972 SC)

In SN HUSSAIN vs STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH case, the state government filed an appeal against the acquittal of the bus driver who has been declared charged in Munsif Magistrate, Alampur, for offences under Sections 304A, 338 and 337 of IPC. The appeal by the government was made and the high court has declared the bus driver convicted, convicted him to undergo strict imprisonment for two years under Section 304A IPC and made the other penalties to run together with the same conviction, hence the appeal was filed before the Supreme Court against the same.

RELEVANT PROVISIONS

Section 304A IPC, Section 337 IPC, Section 338 Indian Penal Code

BRIEF FACTS

  • The appellant, the Bus Driver of an R.T.C. Bus No (APZ 1672) was driving the bus on 1-1-1966 (Accident day) from Kurnool to Vanaparthy however, the bus departed Kurnool at approximately 6.15 A.M. and entered the Railway level crossing gate between the Alampur Road Station and Manopad Railway Station at nearly 6.30 or 7.00 A.M.
  • The railway crossing had a gateman, and it was his duty to close the gate when a train was predicted to pass by, but when the bus reached, the gate found open.
  • The Driver hence passed through the entrance and crossed the track when unexpectedly a train rushed against the vehicle on the backside, as the consequence of that, it drew the bus away, resulting in severe damages and injuries to the 43 passengers.
  • One passenger died on the spot, three died later in the hospital and about 21 other passengers received further or less serious injuries.
  • The charge sheet was filed against the appellant as it was considered that he was reckless, negligent in striking out the railway track when a train filled with goods was about to pass the gate.
  • However, the appellant contended he was not negligent, and the accident was indispensable.
  • He did not acknowledge at all that a Goods train was enacting at the moment and since the entrance was empty or open, Driver struck out the railway crossing unconscious of the evidence that a train was moving toward, and also the Magistrate court has approved the defence but the High Court was gratified to hold that the appellant stood both rash and negligible.
  • All the witnesses interrogated to confirm the case against the appellant turned hostile, but The High Court relied upon a few witnesses for its outcome that the appellant was both sudden and careless, and it is asserted that these witnesses had not substantiated the charge against the appellant.
  • It was further argued that the Magistrate have had accepted a very reasonable view of the case and, thus, the High Court should not have impeded with the decree of acquittal and the view of the High Court could not be maintained on the evidence which occurred in favour of the appellant that the conviction stood outrageous and improper.

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ISSUES

Whether the appellant was rash or negligent?

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RATIO DECIDENDI

It was considered that rashness comprises hazarding a hazardous act understanding that it may cause injury. Thus, the criminality fabricated in a case is running the harm of performing a concerning act recklessly as to the outcomes.

Criminal negligence is the terrible and guilty neglect or loss to exercise adequate and proper care and precaution to conserve against injury either to the public or to an individual having concern to all the situations out of which the penalty has arisen.

The evidence found out by the passengers was extremely late to curb, crash because the bus had already crossed the route and saving the circumstance would find out be to speed up the vehicle, which according to the witness, the driver had done. Unfortunately, the train whisked against the rear side of the bus.

DECISION

Judges held that Blameworthy failure in the instant case prevaricates in the loss to exercise adequate and proper care and the extent that of reasonableness had always relied upon the circumstances of any case.

However, it was further considered that the gate was opened and scheduled train to pass at the time hence, it would justify the driver in driving his vehicle through the level crossing.

Thus, it was considered that Passenger trains usually have a schedule and if a train is expected to come at about the time the appellant entered the level crossing, a regular driver of motor vehicles on that route found negligent in crossing the railway tracks and if any mischance, the gate was empty. But the train in the instant case was not a passenger train but a goods train and it is not showed that the Goods train was scheduled to pass the level crossing just at about the time the bus reached the spot. 

The appellant doesn’t even know that a Goods train would come at that moment hence The court held that ―The appellant was guilty of criminal negligence merely because he did not stop when the road signal wanted him to stop and the case was clear ease of unavoidable accident because of the negligence of the gateman in keeping the gate open and inviting the vehicles to pass. There was no rash and negligent act by the accused.

The order of conviction and sentence was set aside, and the appellant was acquitted.

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Om Ram

Om Ram

Om Ram is currently a 1st-year LL.B. student at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. Previously he did Life Sciences from Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University. He shows his life journey by making Legal Vlogs on a YouTube channel named 'Om Ram'. He has interests in Law, Science & Film making. Some of his notable work related to photography and other interests can be seen on his Instagram. He also has a channel named 'Law Planet' where he along with his sister makes videos to make people aware of laws and their rights.
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