Private Vehicle At Public Road Can Be Considered As Public Place: Supreme Court

A bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph has delivered a verdict on an appeal made by a man who was jailed under the offence Drunk Driving that a private vehicle, while running or parked on public place can be considered under a public place. The apex court has also stated that if a person is found drinking in any such vehicle or being found under an intoxicated state in any such place will be considered as a punishable offence in the State of Bihar.

Its been clarified by the Supreme Court of India that a private vehicle, which runs on the public roads of Bihar will be considered as a Public Place under the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016. The act prohibits the manufacturing, sale, purchase and possession and consumption of Alcohol in the state of Bihar.

The judgement of the Apex Court has overruled the previous judgement, which was given by the Kerala High Court in 1999, which stated that a private vehicle on a public place world still be considered as a private place. The verdict which was given by the Supreme Court of India can be interpreted as any such activity done in a public place, which is prohibited and punishable under the law like drinking or smoking at a public place, will not be allowed in a private car at a public space.

The Judicial bench has also said that even though the public do not have the access of the private vehicle, but it has the opportunity to approach a private vehicle on a public place. The Apex Court has also notified that a public conveyance, which has been omitted from the notification of 1978 which defined the public space, was introduced in the 2016 Amendment of Bihar Excise Act. The statutory amendment has also clarified the difference between the private and the public conveyance.

The appellant has claimed that the time, arrest has been made Section 37(b) was not introduced and that is why he is not appellant of being found drunk in the State of Bihar. After this argument the court became partially convinced by the appellant and made a statement that a person who consumes liquor in a different state cannot be charged with the penalty under Section 52(a), unless its been proven that the consumption of the alcohol has been taken place inside the territory of Bihar State.

After all these arguments, the Apex Court has concluded that it’s true that a private vehicle cannot be used by the public, but the public definitely has the opportunity to approach the vehicle. And hence the court will not accept the submission that the vehicle in which the appellant is travelling will be considered under the definition of the Public Place.

This article is authored by Pragya Sonkhiya, student of B.B.A. LL.B at New Law College, BVP Pune.

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