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  Metros   Delhi  01 Feb 2017  Court order raises doubts on accuracy of alcometers

Court order raises doubts on accuracy of alcometers

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Feb 1, 2017, 1:44 am IST
Updated : Feb 1, 2017, 6:32 am IST

The court also said that the metropolitan magistrate was not justified in convicting and sentencing the appellant.

A file picture shows a traffic cop using a breath analyser to check drunken driving.
 A file picture shows a traffic cop using a breath analyser to check drunken driving.

New Delhi: A sessions court has raised questions on breath analysers and their accuracy to provide correct details on consumption of liquor by motorists. While acquitting a person facing charges of drunken driving, a sessions court said that every electronic device, be it an alcometer, doesn’t give 100 per cent accurate reading and error is bound to occur.

Setting aside an order passed by a magisterial court which had awarded six-day jail to the accused for driving an autorickshaw in an inebriated condition, a sessions court said there was no proof that the device, used to measure alcohol content in body, was ISI marked or was properly functioning befo-re it was used in this case. The court also said that the metropolitan magistrate was not justified in convicting and sentencing the appellant.

“It is a matter of common knowledge that every electronic device, be it an alcometer or a glucometer, does not give 100 per cent accurate reading/result and margin of error varying from 10 to 20 per cent is bound to occur. It raises a question mark on the authenticity and genuineness of the readings procured from the said alcometer in absence of production of any certificate of accuracy of reading carried out by it, particularly when its functionality was not at all established by the investigating agency,” additional sessions judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma noted in its order.

The court also said that the alcometer report did not even carry the signature of the challaning officer and the person to whom it pertained, and hence the magistrate should not have convicted the accused.

“Once the genuineness and authenticity of this very document (report) had fallen in grave suspicion itself and a question mark has been raised in respect thereof, then, the magistrate, in my considered opinion, was not justified to have relied upon such a false and fabricated document against the appellant (driver),” the judge said.

The court also took strong exception to the fact that the challaning officer had acted contrary to Delhi police guidelines that when a person is caught in drunken driving, he is not allowed to go home on his own and it is the duty of the challaning officer to make arrangement for safe return.

According to the prosecution, the accused, Ganga Singh, was caught driving his auto in a drunken condition by cops in November 2015 in southeast Delhi.

Tags: drunken driving, liquor, alcometer
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi