Nooriya Havelivala, the non-resident Indian beautician who has filed appeal against her conviction in a hit-and-run case, on Friday sought bail from the Bombay high court.
Haveliwala's lawyer, Abad Ponda, argued that bail should be granted in cases where accused has been sentenced to less than seven years in prison. The Supreme Court had said that bail can be granted if the sentence is short, he said.
The state government, on the other hand, has sought enhanced punishment of 10 years. Haveliwala was convicted for a drink-driving accident of January 2010 in which her car mowed down two persons including a policeman.
She was sentenced to five years's prison term. The state has also challenged her acquittal by the trial court under the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. It said that she was also on drugs at the time.
Justice Abhay Thipsay of the high court has said that he would decide the bail plea first and expedite the hearing of the appeal after that.
Following Friday's arguments, Justice Thipsay remarked that though he would not say that this was not a serious case, other cases of the past such as the Alister Pereira hit-and-run case were more serious.
During the arguments, advocate Ponda said that in other cases where the jail term of five years were awarded, the state had not opposed the bail during the appeal hearing. But in the present case, as a policeman had died, prosecution was taking it personally.
Additional public prosecutor Usha Kejriwal accepted that usually state didn't oppose bail in such matters. However, this case was more serious, she said.
Ponda also said that the taxi-driver, who was hit by Havelivala's car first, had not been examined during the trial. Further, the police had violated the procedure for medical
tests in drink-driving cases.
The breath analyser test recorded 457 mg per 100 ml, a very high alcohol content, which would in fact make it impossible for anybody to drive, making the person comatose. The police too had admitted that such a reading was rare, he said.
The court will continue the hearing on January 21.