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Centre Suspends Law On ‘Hit-And-Run’ Punishment Amid Protests

New Delhi, Feb 24 (WD): The government of India, on Saturday, made the decision to defer the implementation of Sub Section (2) of Section 106 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, specifically addressing ‘causing death through reckless and negligent driving of a vehicle.’ This move comes in response to widespread protests by truckers against this particular provision across various states of India.

As per a notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs, cited in a LiveLaw report, the Central Government has designated July 1, 2024, as the commencement date for the provisions of the Sanhita, excluding sub-section (2) of section 106. Although passed by Parliament on December 21, 2023, replacing the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act, these laws received the President’s assent on December 25, 2023. However, the legislation specifies that they will only take effect on a date determined by the Indian government.

In recent weeks, numerous transporters and auto-driver associations across India have been protesting against the new law on hit-and-run incidents. Under the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS), which replaced the Indian Penal Code, drivers who cause a serious road accident by negligent driving and flee without informing the police or any official from the administration can face punishment of up to 10 years or a fine of Rs7 lakh. This is a significant increase from the earlier punishment of two years under the Indian Penal Code.

Private transport operators argue that the law discourages drivers and may result in unjust punishments. They express concern that drivers could be at risk of mob violence when attempting to transport the injured to hospitals and demand the repeal of the law. All India Motor & Goods Transport Association President, Rajendra Kapoor, emphasized, “Our only demand from the govt is that the decision should have been taken after having consultations with our stakeholders. There was no discussion with anyone on this, and no one was asked about this. There should have been prior meetings and consultations.”

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