AHMEDABAD: Sanjay Patel, 28, died after two cows suddenly came in the way of his motorcycle on an Ahmedabad highway last September – the collision hemorrhaged Patel’s brain. Yet the city’s traffic cops have made Patel’s father file an FIR against his own deceased son, under section 279 of the IPC, which affirms that ‘rash driving’ was responsible for his death.
Patel, a resident of Kalol, worked at a car dealership. The accident occurred near Chharodi on SG Road. The traffic department’s deputy commissioner of police (administration), Tejas Patel, said: “Across the 14 traffic police stations in the city, not a single case has been registered under provisions of accidental death.” He said so far only FIRs under various sections of road accidents have been registered.
Patel’s death is a fit case for investigation under accidental death provisions because authorities have been cracking down on people whose cattle stray onto roads and put commuters in peril.
‘Cattle owners unpunished’
Sanjay Patel’s father, Mahesh, told TOI that some time ago, he was summoned by A-Division traffic police, which made him sign the FIR.”I was told to sign the FIR which said that my son was responsible for his own death because he was speeding,” Mahesh Patel said. “The stray cows suddenly appeared on the road and my son did not have any time to react. Isn’t it strange that instead of punishing cattle owners who let their animals stray, my dead son was blamed?”
DCP Tejas Patel, however, said it would be hard for police to trace the owners of animals responsible for such accidents. “Earlier, only three traffic police stations were authorized to register road-accident FIRs but now all 14 can do so,” Tejas Patel said. Moreover, police put down such instances to bad luck. “It is unfortunate that such things happen,” said joint commissioner of police J R Muthaliya. “We will look into the issue and see how proper action can be taken against the accused.”
Last year, the Gujarat high court had pulled up the Ahmedabad municipal commissioner and the city police commissioner for not taking punitive measures against owners of cattle that dangerously sauntered through the city. Last year, two cattle owners were booked for allowing their animals to trespass on public roads.
At the time of his death, Patel had been married for a year and seven months. He is survived by his wife Anita, who is pursuing the BCom course as an external student in Mehsana.
ACP to be cattle squad’s security officer
Police have deputed an assistant commissioner of police as the security officer for the civic body’s cattle squad, which captures stray cattle. “Traffic police and local police also provide security to the squad,” Tejas Patel said.