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Drunken driving: Breathalyser test needed: HC

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Story Dated: Friday, September 05, 2014 02:35 hrs UTC

The High Court (HC) has ruled that alcohol in excess of permissible limit should be found out in the Breathalyzer test done for a drunken driving case to stand scrutiny. Procedures for avoiding the breath test will not stand. The HC clarified that medical and laboratory tests will not be a substitute for Breathalyzer test.

Only upon obtaining an indication of the presence of more than 30 milliliter alcohol in 100 milliliter of blood through the Breathalyzer test can an offence under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act stand. A person who cannot be verified through Breathalyzer test as drunk cannot be arrested without warrant. Procedure should be strictly followed when it is insisted in the law that test to determine alcohol content should be done in a specific manner.

The HC clarified that this can be done away with only when the culprit refuses to undergo Breathalyzer test. The ruling was made by Justice P. Ubaid while allowing an appeal submitted by accused Sajimon against the lower court ruling sentencing him to a punishment of three months imprisonment and fine for driving a bus under the influence of alcohol.

The Magistrate Court's sentence was based on finding alcohol content in excess of permissible limit upon testing blood and urine samples. The appeal was in the context of the Sessions Court also approving the verdict. In this case, the police did not conduct Breathalyzer test. The HC, which judged that a prosecution based merely on medical test report and laboratory test report will not hold, acquitted the accused

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