CAR DRIVER IN SOBO CRASH SPARED JAIL BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN AND A DOC
By Sharmeen Hakim, Mumbai Mirror | Updated: Apr 28, 2017, 02.59 AM IST
Top: Lajja Shah’s Innova rear-ended the motorcycle on which Jyoti Singh (above) was travelling
Speech therapist gets away with just Rs 72,500 fine.
A Marine Drive speech therapist whose speeding car killed a motorcycle pillion rider near Girgaum Chowpatty in 2015 has been spared prison time by a court because of her gender and profession.
A metropolitan magistrate only fined Lajja Shah, who is associated with Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Rs 72,500 for offences that could have also attracted a jail term of up to two years.
“The accused is a woman and a doctor by profession, so I am of the view that instead of sentencing her to imprisonment, a fine may be imposed,” the magistrate, VR Dasari, ruled last week.
On May 25, 2015, Shah slammed her Toyota Innova into a bike near Girgaum Chowpatty, knocking down 22-year-old Akash Singh and his sister, Jyoti, who was riding pillion. Jyoti, 25, came under a front wheel of the car and later succumbed to her injuries.
Shah was charged under sections 279 (rash driving), 304A (causing death by negligence), and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code. But Shah, also an audiologist, never spent any time in police custody.
Section 304A is the most serious charge she faced. Under this section, the court can send the accused to prison for up to two years or impose a fine, or order both.
The prosecution, led by CY Patil, examined seven witnesses to prove Shah’s guilt. Akash, who was injured in the accident, and Shah’s driver, who was with her at the time of the collision, were among them. The driver’s testimony was rejected as it appeared to serve his employer.
Shah’s advocate argued that Akash and Jyoti should be blamed for the accident, and not Shah. The siblings were in a hurry to reach their workplace so Akash tried to dangerously cut through heavy traffic on the motorcycle, the lawyer said.
But the magistrate rejected the claim, citing the pattern of damage to the Innova. “The tyre brake marks of the Innova were present on the spot to the extent of 10 to 15 feet at its backside. This shows that at the time of incident, the Innova was certainly in a high speed,” Dasari observed. Jyoti was admitted to Bhatia Hospital, where she battled for life. Before succumbing to her injuries, she told her another brother that she could not see anything.
Shah’s lawyer, GS Vaidya, said on Thursday that they would challenge the conviction. “This judgement is bad in law and we are going to file an appeal against the conviction,” Vaidya said.