Kerala High Court stays Sessions Court order discharging IAS Officer Sriram Venkitaraman of culpable homicide charge

Venkitaraman was charged by the Police with culpable homicide in a 2019 road accident case which resulted in the death of journalist, KM Basheer. The Sessions Court discharged Venkitaraman of that offence in October.
Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court on Friday stayed the order of a Sessions Court discharging IAS Officer, Sriram Venkitaraman of culpable homicide charge in a road accident case [State of Kerala v Sreeram Venkittaraman]

The stay will be operative for two months, the Court said.

Justice Ziyad Rahman also issued notice to Venkitaraman on the plea moved by the State government challenging the Sessions Court order.

Venkitaraman was charged with culpable homicide in a 2019 road accident case which resulted in the death of journalist, KM Basheer.

The IAS Officer, was driving a car that rammed into Basheer, killing him.

The police allegedly found Venkitaraman an inebriated state after the accident. However, there was significant delay in collecting his blood sample for testing the alcohol level as Venkitaraman had managed to check himself out of the government hospital where the police had taken him.

Subsequently, a case was registered against Venkitaraman and the passenger in the car at the time, one Wafa Firoz, by the Museum Police, Thiruvananthapuram.

In October this year, the Additional District and Sessions Judge -I, Thiruvananthapuram discharged Venkitaraman of the offences under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 201(causing disappearance of evidence of commission of offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act), and Section 3(1)(2) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

However, the Court framed charges against Venkitaraman under Sections 279 (rash driving) and 304(A) (causing death by negligence) of the IPC and Section 184 Of MV Act .

The present appeal moved by the State said that the order was passed the court below without considering the materials produced before it.

"The court below without considering the materials  produced before the court exceeded the jurisdiction in holding  that 1st accused did not drive the vehicle with either an  intention to kill or with the knowledge that his act might  result in the death of the deceased and also held that act of the 1st accused was merely a rash and negligent act within the meaning of Section 304 A of Indian Penal Code," the plea said.

The appellant-State pointed out that Venkitaraman, being a qualified  doctor and a senior Civil Servant was well aware of the natural  consequences of driving while inebriated. There may be knowledge of likely consequences without any intention and , therefore, the Court ought not have dropped the culpable homicide charge, it was contended.

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