The High Court (HC) in a judicial review on Thursday upheld the provision of maximum seven years jail term for causing road accident. "The penalty should be higher," the HC observed.
The HC declared the amendment that reduced punishment for road accidents to three years as illegal and unconstitutional. The bench of Justices Salma Masud Chowdhury and Md Khasruzzaman gave the ruling after settling a writ petition on Thursday.
The punishment for death because of reckless driving was seven years as per section 304 (B) of the penal code until 1985. But the penalty was reduced to three-year in jail by an amendment made under HM Ershad's regime in the same year.
Lawyer Asaduzzaman Siddique filed a writ petition, challenging the amendment on behalf of the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB). The HC issued rule on January 4, 2011 questioning legality of the amendment. After hearing from both sides, the HC on Thursday made the rule absolute.
The court said the amendment to the Penal Code was in conflict with the basic rights laid down in the Constitution.
In its observation, the court recommended that the punishment for reckless driving should be increased further to ensure people's right to life as guaranteed by the constitution.
"The previous penalty of seven years in jail will be restored as the court has ruled the amendment as illegal. But the court has also observed that this punishment was not enough in the present context," the plaintiff's lawyer Monzil Morshed told reporters after the verdict.