1. The appeal is against the conviction and sentence of the appellant by the learned temporary Additional Sessions Judge, Trivandrum for the offence of rash driving of a motor car on a public way punishable under Section 279, Penal Code. He was also charged under Sections 304A and 337, Penal Code, but the learned Judge acquitted him of those offences. For the offence under Section 279 he has been sentenced to undergo three months' simple imprisonment.
2. On 17.11.1123 the accused was the employee of the late V.S. Arumughom Pillai, then Director of Registration, Travancore. As the driver of his car he was taking his master from Mavelikara to Trivandrum. Shri Arumughom Pillai had gone out inspecting several Sub-Registrar Offices in Central Travancore and at 1-30 P.M. on the said date he left Mavelikara for his Head Quarters, viz., Trivandrum. On the way he wanted to inspect the Mazhakkoottam Sub-Registry Office before it was 5 P.M. It was 4-15 when the car reached Attingal junction and Arumughom Pillai reminded the driver that they should reach Kazhakootam before 5 P.M. The driver took the cue and began to drive at a very fast speed. Before, however, the car had pro-needed for about two furlongs Arumughom Pillai felt the speed was too fast and wanted the driver to slow down. He applied the brake; but the car did not stop. It got out Of the control and went and struck against a lamp-post beyond the road. It. also hit against a bullock cart coming from the opposite direction. As a result of the impact the car had with the lamp-post Arumughom Pillai was thrown out of the car and he fell on the road senseless. He was first taken to a London Mission Hospital nearby and first aid was rendered. As the case was felt to be serious on the advice of the doctor there the victim was taken to the Trivandrum General Hospital but he succumbed to the injuries. Hence the charge under Section 304A. Arumughom Pillai has along with him in the car two of his clerks. They were also injured as a result of the accident. The charge under Section 337 related to their injuries. Those clerks were examined at the trial as P.Ws. 9 and 10.
3. In view of the acquittal of the accused of the offences under Sections 304A and 337 it is unnecessary to enquire how or why the car happened to collide with the cart or the lamppost. The learned Counsel for the appellant tried to explain away the collisions on the ground that when the accused tried to apply the brake the steering column of the vehicle had given way and that the vehicle got out of control. In all probability that might have happened after the collision and as a result thereof the over speed might have been responsible for the brake not acting sufficiently well to slow down the speed of the car immediately. That the steering column might give way even when the car is moving at a moderate speed has no relevancy when we are concerned in this appeal only with the conviction under Section 279. The over speed the prosecution alleges at which the accused drove the car may or may not have led to the subsequent events. If there is evidence that the accused was driving the car at a terrific speed before he applied the brake when his master wanted him to reduce the speed that is sufficient to sustain the present conviction.
4. On the evidence the conclusion that at the moment when he states that he applied the brake the car was travelling at a very last speed is inescapable. (After referring to the evidence the judgment proceeded:) The state of mind of Arumughom Pillai and that of the passers-by give more eloquent proof than direct testimony itself. What happened to the car after the accused tried to apply the brake may or may not have been due to the over-speed.
5. It is the duty of every user of the road to make a reasonable use of it for the purposes of passing along it and to allow others to do so also. One way of doing it is to conform to the ordinary usages of the road. Here the accused was coming along the wrong side and at a terrific speed. It is impossible to hold that he was not driving the car in a rash or negligent manner as to endanger human life or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person. Here human life was actually lost and hurt was also caused. For a conviction under Section 279 it is, however, not necessary that the rash or negligent act should result in injury to life or limb. Bare negligence involving the risk of injury is punishable under Section 279. Such negligence as already noticed has amply been proved in the case.
6. The conviction has hence to be confirmed and we decide accordingly. No interference is called for regarding the sentence either.
7. Opinions might differ as to whether the lower Court acted rightly in acquitting the accused of the offences under Sections 337 and 304A. We are, however, not concerned with that question now. Suffice it to say for the present that the appeal fails and that we dismiss it.