Mumbai: Hearing a petition related to the hit-and-run case against Bollywood actor Salman Khan, the Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government to procure within four months adequate number of breath analysers used for checking liquor consumption by drivers.
It was obligatory for the state government to have such devices in sufficient number, said the division bench of justices Abhay Oka and C V Bhadang. The judges also asked the government to release money for the purchase of analysers within a month.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by journalist Nikhil Wagle seeking compensation from Salman for the victims of the 2002 mishap. The high court last year acquitted Salman in the case.
The actor had already deposited the compensation amount with the high court as directed, but Wagle’s petition is still being heard as the court expanded its scope to include the issue of need to enhance the punishment in accident cases.
Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani today said while 1,174 breath analysers were needed in the state, only 507 were available and of them 196 were not functioning. Mumbai police alone needed 327 of these devices but they have only 119, he said.
While ordering purchase of devices, the bench deferred the matter to March 3 when it would consider how the blood tests of vehicle drivers should be conducted and what procedure should be adopted for collection blood samples.
One of the arguments of defence lawyers in the Salman case was that police and doctors didn’t follow proper procedure while collecting his blood and conducting tests, so the report of alcohol content in his blood could not be accepted.
At an earlier hearing, the Centre had said it was considering a proposal to enhance the punishment for drunk driving under the IPC.