Bombay High Court on Monday admitted an application filed by the state government seeking the enhancement of the five-year prison sentence handed out to Colaba beautician Nooria Haveliwala (30), convicted in a case of drink driving that killed two persons, including a policeman, in January 2010.
Additional public prosecutor Usha Kejriwal told the court that the government was seeking ten years’ imprisonment, the maximum punishment under section 304 (II) of the IPC that Haveliwala was held guilty under. The state government has contended that the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court that handed out the five-year jail sentence to Haveliwala, “should have awarded the sentence considering the seriousness of the offence” and the trial judge had cited no reasons for handing out a lesser sentence to Haveliwala.
The government has challenged Haveliwala’s acquittal under section 353 that pertains to assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty, section 332 and 333 that refer to voluntarily causing hurt and grievous hurt respectively, to deter a public servant from his duty and sections of the Motor Vehicle Act and the NDPS Act. The appeal against acquittal states that the trial court ought to have considered the chemical analysis report which showed presence of cannabis, this proving that Haveliwala was under influence of drugs while driving her SUV that rammed into biker Afzal Akbar and traffic policeman Dinanath Shinde, who were killed in the January 31 accident in Princess Street area.
Justice A M Thipsay, however, observed that prima facie there is nothing to suggest an offence under section 333 of the IPC.
Haveliwala, too, had moved an appeal challenging the five-year rigorous imprisonment on the grounds that the trial court “ignored” certain evidences that could have acted in her favour. She had urged the court to release her on bail and suspend her jail sentence while her appeal is pending in court.
The prosecution had opposed the grant of bail to Haveliwala stating that she is a US national and is likely to abscond if released on bail.
Haveliwala’s advocate Abad Ponda told the court that her passport was with the US embassy.