Report No. 51
43. Comments opposed on ground of priorities.-
A High Court Judge1 has given an elaborate comment, which seems to show that he is opposed, to the proposed amendment on the ground of priorities (as also-on other grounds). He has observed-
"The spirit of social justice eloquently enshrined in Article 41 of the Constitution and which professedly has animated the Law Commission in framing the report and preparing the draft provisions for incorporation in the Motor Vehicles Act, is indeed laudable; but, in my opinion, it has a touch, taint and savour of Utopia. I am not sure if the State facing mighty economic problems arising out of spiralling prices can shoulder the proposed financial burden, which, in course of time, might assume alarming proportions; nor am I convinced that the category of social justice meant to be secured has that claim to priority which is assumed for it. The States are already up against more mighty challenges, e.g., provision for housing in rural areas, employment for millions who in a way are already a burden on the earth, removal of illiteracy and introduction of compulsory education, medical aid and other health services, road construction, etc.
Slow and lingering death arising out of want of basic human requirements should, I believe, give a bigger jolting to sensitive enlightened conscience than a stray gory occurrence on a non-frequented rural road or an urban lane, if only because the first mentioned malady has victims galore compared to the letter.".
He has further stated-
"Apart from theoretical objections afore-mentioned, I think from purely practical standpoint the experiment contemplated may prove more costly than envisaged at present, especially in the Indian context. All of a sudden, I believe, the hit-and-run cases will multiply manifold immediately after the proposed measure takes a legal shape. Unscrupulous drivers and owners of automobiles involved in the occurrences would manage to enter into some arrangement with the victim or his heirs in case of his death, settling the deal clandestinely at a price much lower than the law demands and pass the buck to the State Government on the representation that the culprit could not be identified. We know it too well that the manner in which the cases are fought in courts on behalf of the Government has never receiyed universal approbation, and the new glut of cases, arising out of propdsed amendment of Motor Vehicles Act, might prove the proverbial straw on the camel's back. For the reasons stated, I cannot endorse the proposed changes in law, though they are of a salutary nature, until at least the resources of the States show up and the normal citizen exhibits more sense of virtuosity than is evident at present".
1. S. No. 27.