Mumbai: HC gives state 4 months to procure 327 breathalysers

The Bombay High Court yesterday asked the state to purchase new breath analysers in the next four months and sanction the funds necessary for purchasing these devices within a month’s period.

A cop checks the alcohol level of a motorist using a breathalyser. Of the 143 devices in the city, only 119 are in working condition. File pic
A cop checks the alcohol level of a motorist using a breathalyser. Of the 143 devices in the city, only 119 are in working condition. File pic

The bench of Justices Abhay Oka and C V Bhadang issued the directives while hearing a petition filed by media executive Nikhil Wagle in the Salman Khan hit-and-run case.

Responding to the plea filed by Wagle’s lawyer Nitin Pradhan, state pleader Abhinandan Vagyani informed the court that 863 breath analysers were needed across Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai. The city alone needed 327 breath analysers.

“There are presently 34 Traffic chowkies in Mumbai and each needs three breath analysers, while the police stations require another 225 breath analysers. Currently, there are 143 breath analysers in the city to check drunk driving, of which around 119 are in working condition,” said Vagyani.

The bench was informed that the state has already placed an order for 150 breath analysers at a cost of R80,000.

“We want the state to buy breath analysers in a time-bound manner — within four months — and money for which should be sanctioned and released within a month,” the Bench said.

Following the conclusion of Salman Khan’s case, the High Court observed that Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act needed amendment.

The court also pointed out that the total number of cases of drunken driving in the city had increased from 16,525 in 2013 to 17,849 in 2015.

The court took suo motu cognisance of these figures and questioned the state about the suspension of licence if a driver was driving under the influence of alcohol.

In its reply, the state informed the court that licences of motorists would be suspended as soon as he/she is found drunk.

143
Present number of breath analysers in Mumbai

119
Number of devices in working condition

863
Number of breath analysers required across the state, excluding Mumbai

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