Bengal cops to file suo motu case for accidents

Of the 10,042 accidents reported in Bengal in 2018, only 5,041 (50%) cases were registered within 24 hours of the incident

By Monalisa Chaudhuri in Calcutta
  • Published 20.04.19, 3:47 AM
  • Updated 20.04.19, 3:47 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
According to police records, 11,631 road accidents were reported in Bengal in 2017. The Telegraph file picture

Police across Bengal have been asked to start a case suo motu as early as possible for every road accident instead of waiting for family members of the victim to lodge a complaint.

The director-general of police, Virendra, has sent an order to the police superintendents of all districts and all police commissionerates asking for early registration of cases.

According to a survey conducted by the traffic department of the Bengal police, only half the accidents that happened across the state in 2018 were registered within 24 hours of occurrence.

There are instances of the police registering a case six months after a road accident.

The cops often fail to gather vital evidence because of delay in registration of a case — such as the breathalyser report if drink driving is believed to have caused the accident.

The delay also comes in the way of the victim’s family claiming insurance money. According to the rule, one cannot claim insurance money for an accidental death unless the police register a case.

Senior officers said cops at police stations were usually reluctant to start a case without a complaint from the victim’s family. “There is general reluctance in starting a case unless someone goes to the police station and file a complaint. If a case is started on the day of the accident, the accused driver can be made to undergo a breathalyser test. The test report, if positive, becomes a strong evidence in the case,” a senior officer said.

DGP Virendra’s communique to the district police chiefs and the police commissionerates cites the findings of a study conducted by the traffic department of the Bengal police across the state excluding Calcutta.

The study found that of the 10,042 accidents reported in Bengal in 2018, only 5,041 (50 per cent) cases were registered within 24 hours of the incident, 2,451 within two to seven days, 1,592 within eight to 30 days, 787 within one to six months and 171 after six months.

According to police records, 11,631 road accidents were reported in Bengal in 2017.

The DGP has also ordered that all fatal accidents will be probed by officers of the rank of sub-inspector or above. Earlier, assistant sub-inspectors were empowered to probe fatal accidents.

Sources said often a “fake accused person” is produced before the police when the accused is unknown so the victim’s family can claim insurance money. “Such ill practices can be curbed if there is a timely probe,” an officer said.