In a recent case of Manoj Kumar K. v. State of Kerala, Kerala High Court held that in order to attract the offence of drunk driving under Section 185(a), the accused should be subjected to a breath analyser or any other test including a laboratory test and his blood should be found to contain alcohol exceeding 30 mg per 100 ml. This is accordance with Section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The prosecution allegation was that the petitioner had driven his car in a rash and negligent manner so as to endanger human life and had dashed against another car, resulting in the driver and passenger of the other. Upon the medical examination report, the doctor opined that the petitioner smelled of alcohol. The petitioner was prosecuted solely on this basis.
As per Section 185, whoever, while driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle (a) has in his blood alcohol exceeding 30 mg per 100 ml of blood detected in a test by a breath analyser or in any other test including a laboratory test, is liable for punishment.
The court held that no test has been conducted in the present case and so, the petitioner cannot be prosecuted for the offence under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The court relied on the decision of Kerala HC in Sagimon v. State of Kerala [2014(3) KLT 782]. The court held that prior to 2019 Amendment, it was mandated to determine the alcohol content in blood through breath analyser test.
“After the amendment, other tests, including laboratory test, can be resorted for determining alcohol content in blood,” the court further held.
A perusal of the memo of evidence appended to the final report also showed that the doctor's certificate is with regard to the injuries sustained by the petitioner and others as a result of the accident.