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Understanding Indian Truckers’ protest against “stringent” ‘Hit and Run Law’

ANM Bureau

The new year in India came with the nationwide protest of truckers’ association against stricter punishments in the new law on hit-and-run cases. As some truck, bus and tanker operators began a three-day strike on the first day of new year against the “stringent punishments” introduced under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita-the new law which is set to replace the Indian Penal Code, it is important to note that nearly 85 people killed every day in hit and run accidents in India daily killing four people every hour as per 2022 data.

The new law proposes to punish drivers who cause serious road accidents due to negligent driving and run away without informing authorities face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of Rs 7 lakh.

Hit and Run New Law

The new hit-and-run law in India, under the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, imposes stricter penalties for drivers who flee accident spots. According to the law, a driver who flees the scene after a hit-and-run accident will face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of ₹7 lakh.

This law also applies to private vehicle owners. The new law aims to minimize the number of hit-and-run cases, which cause around 50,000 deaths in India each year.

The penalties for hit-and-run cases under the new law are significantly more severe compared to the previous penalties under the Indian Penal Code. The penalties for hit-and-run cases under the new law are as follows:

Why is the new Hit and Run law introduced?

The new hit-and-run law in India, under the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, was introduced to address the significant issue of hit-and-run accidents and their consequences. The main reasons for introducing the new law are:

  • Minimize the number of hit-and-run cases: The new law aims to reduce the number of hit-and-run accidents, which result in around 50,000 deaths in India each year.

  • Increase accountability: The law imposes stricter penalties for hit-and-run cases, with up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of ₹7 lakh, to increase the accountability of drivers involved in such accidents.

  • Update the legal framework: The new law replaces the British-era Indian Penal Code (IPC) and makes overhauling changes to the criminal justice system, including changes to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Evidence Act.

  • Grant victims more rights: The new law grants victims the right to speak during trials, which can help ensure a fairer legal process for those affected by hit-and-run accidents.

  • Promote road safety: By imposing harsher penalties for hit-and-run cases, the new law aims to promote road safety and discourage dangerous driving behavior.

What’s the reaction of the drivers?

Truck drivers across India are protesting against the new hit-and-run law under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, which replaces the Indian Penal Code.

Concerns of Drivers:

  • Drivers believe the law is draconian and the fines are too high, leading to financial hardship.

  • They fear it will discourage current drivers and deter new entrants to the profession.

  • False accusations and accidents beyond their control could lead to unfair 10-year sentences.

Impact of Protests:

  • Significant disruption to transportation and supply chains.

  • Over 70% of the estimated 1.20 lakh trucks, tempos, and containers in Mumbai are off the roads, potentially affecting fuel and essential goods distribution.

  • The three-day strike is likely to impact the distribution of fuel and essential commodities.

  • Similar protests are happening in other parts of the country.

  • Truck drivers’ livelihoods and future of the industry are at stake due to the new law.

  • Protests highlight concerns about fairness and unintended consequences of the legislation.

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