Booking guilty tough task for traffic cops

Kathmandu, August 8:

Though road accidents are on rise in the city, police are having tough time punishing the offenders as lack of scientific investigation and public outrage following the accident are affecting the investigation.

They also said that this was also promoting the culture of impunity in this sector. More than 1200 such cases are registered in the court of law annually seeking punishment to the culprit. However, the cases of awarding punishment to real offenders are very rare.

“If we talk about the punishment for killing people, we can see that only a few are getting punished,” Kathmandu District Government Attorney, Surendra Bahadur Thapa told this daily.

Since, they have to bear treatment charges for injured people, drivers have the tendency of killing people by running them over.

Three years ago the district courts in Rupandehi and Surkhet slapped life term on culprit drivers who killed two people by running them over after injuring them. Such cases are very rare in judicial history these days.

“Convicting a criminal is a serious and difficult task because public outrage has also been creating difficulties,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Upendra Kanta Aryal said.

Road accidents are followed by protests and closure of roads quite often.

Drivers who kill people in road accidents are freed after they pay for final rites of the deceased as per the Act.

“Public can support cases against the culprits. But in spite of cooperating with the security forces for investigation, they resort to strikes and closure of roads,” Aryal added.

The Clause 161 of Public Transport Act, 1992 says that homicidal killing will be an offense and can fetch life term for culprits. But the same provision also says that the sentence will be for only two years in the case of an accident.

“A fine up to Rs 2000 and a sentence of up to 25 days are imposed if the offense is proved as accident,” said Thapa.

At least 100 such cases are registered with Kathmandu District Court annually and almost all of them escape with Rs 2000 fine and imprisonment of 25 days.

“The victims have the tendency of demanding compensation from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 1 million. After getting compensation, they do not care to continue for prosecution of the culprits,” Thapa added.