Supreme Court of India
Sagar Lolienkar vs The State Of Goa on 18 November, 2021Author: Ajay Rastogi

Bench: Ajay Rastogi, Abhay S. Oka

(Arising out of SLP(Crl.) No(s). 931 of 2021)




Rastogi, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. Heard Mr. Pallav Mongia, learned counsel for the appellant

and Ms. Ruchira Gupta, learned counsel for the respondents.

3. The appellant has assailed the judgment and order dated 7 th

December, 2020 upholding his conviction for offences under

Sections 279, 304­A of Indian Penal Code(IPC) and under Section
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
Date: 2021.11.18

3 read with Section 181 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MV Act)
16:41:27 IST

and sentencing him with simple imprisonment of two months and
fine of Rs. 1,000/­ for the offence under Section 279 IPC; simple

imprisonment for two years and fine of Rs. 10,000/­ for the

offence under Section 304­A IPC; and to pay fine of Rs. 500/­ or

in default to undergo simple imprisonment of 10 days for the

offence under Section 3 read with Section 181 of the MV Act.

Indisputedly, the appellant has undergone more than 7 months of

substantive sentence.

4. The case of the prosecution is that the appellant on 13 th

February, 2013 at 1745 hrs while proceeding from Tilamol side to

Zambaulim, which is a public way, drove his Wagon­R bearing

registration no. GA­09­A­6921 in a rash and negligent manner and

committed a culpable homicide not amounting to murder, by

causing the death of Manohar Shetkar. It was also the case of

prosecution that the accused was driving the offending vehicle

rashly and negligently without holding an effective driving licence

issued by the competent authority and, therefore, committed an

offence under Sections 279, 304(II) IPC and Sections 3, 181 and

185 of the MV Act.

5. The prosecution in all examined seven witnesses including

the investigating officer. Thereafter, the statement of the appellant

was recorded under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure.
Despite the opportunity, the accused neither examined himself nor

led any evidence in support of his defence.

6. The learned trial Judge, by its judgment and order dated 30 th

September, 2014 held him guilty and convicted and sentenced him

for the afore­stated offences. The appeal preferred by the appellant

came to be dismissed by the High Court of Bombay at Goa by

judgment impugned dated 7th December, 2020.

7. Learned counsel for the appellant has tried to persuade this

Court that the evidence on record does not justify any conviction

or sentencing and further submits that the ocular evidence is not

at all reliable and the documentary evidence to a great extent

supports the defence raised by the appellant.

8. Learned counsel further submits that there is some

unreliable evidence suggesting that the offending vehicle was

driven at “high speed” but such evidence is not at all sufficient to

establish either rashness or negligence, which are essential

ingredients to have a conviction under Sections 279 or 304­A of

IPC and based on such vague testimony, the conviction as

recorded is quite unsustainable.

9. Learned counsel further submits that as a matter of record,

the appellant was holding a learner’s licence to drive the motor

vehicle on the alleged date of incident dated 13 th February, 2013

and was accompanied by his wife(PW 5) who was sitting beside

him and was the holder of a permanent licence to drive the motor

vehicle and submits that the evidence was, therefore, required to

be accepted in its totality. Learned counsel submits that wife of

the appellant has deposed that the scooter was overtaking a

parked truck and collided head­on with the Wagon­R driven by the

appellant but such evidence was unduly rejected by the learned

Sessions Court and further submits that the appellant only has to

probabalise his defence and there is no requirement of establishing

such defence beyond a reasonable doubt. In the given

circumstances, the conviction which has been upheld by the High

Court in the impugned judgment is not sustainable and deserves

to be interfered by this Court.

10. Per contra, learned counsel for the respondent­State has

supported the order of conviction passed by the High Court.

However, the learned counsel did not seriously dispute the

submissions of the learned counsel for the appellant relating to the

reduction of sentence.
11. Under the directions of this Court, by an Order dated 5 th

April, 2021, the widow of the deceased was impleaded as

respondent no. 2 to whom notice has been duly served but no one

has put in appearance despite service. Further, in compliance of

Order of this Court, the compensation amount of Rs. 3 lakhs has

been deposited by the appellant in the Registry of this Court.

12. After going through the judgment and order passed by the

High Court as well as the Courts below, we are of the considered

opinion that the well­reasoned order of conviction passed by the

High Court for the offences under Sections 279 and 304­A IPC

needs no interference of this Court.

13. However, it has come on record that the appellant has been

appointed as a Peon on temporary basis in the Directorate of

Women & Child Development, Goa under the “Scheme for

providing employment in Government to the Children of Freedom

Fighters” by an Order dated 4th May, 2017 and has been blessed

with the girl child on 19th February, 2018.

14. In the instant case, the appellant has been found to be guilty

of offences punishable under Sections 279 and 304A IPC for

driving rashly and negligently on a public street and his act

unfortunately resulted in the loss of the precious human life. But

it is pertinent to note that there was no allegation against the

appellant that at the time of accident, he was under the influence

of liquor or any other substance impairing his driving skills. It was

a rash and negligent act simplicitor and not a case of driving in an

inebriated condition which is, undoubtedly despicable aggravated

offence warranting stricter and harsher punishment.

15. Having regard to all these factors and bearing in mind the

fact that the widow of the victim has not come forward despite

notice being served and the compensation of Rs. 3 lakhs has been

deposited by the appellant, we are of the view that a lenient view

can be taken in the matter and the sentence of imprisonment can

be reduced.

16. Accordingly, the conviction of the appellant under Sections

279 and 304A IPC is maintained. However, the substantive

sentence of imprisonment is reduced to the period already

undergone. Imposition of fine is also affirmed. Besides the fine,

an amount of Rs. 3 lakhs which has been deposited by the

appellant by way of compensation in the Registry of this Court be

transferred to the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, South Goa,

Margao in Claim Petition No. 84/2013 which shall be released by
the Tribunal to the widow of the deceased Smt. Reshma Manohar


17. The appeal is disposed of accordingly. The bail bonds of the

appellant, if any, stand discharged.

18. Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.


NOVEMBER 18, 2021



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