Published : Times of India
Nothing amuses me more than surveys highlighting the ranking of countries,states or departments on the index of corruption.How does it matter whether a department is the 10th or 100th in the index Is there any limit up to which corruption is acceptable It is not the department but few people in that department who are corrupt.To generally brand a department as corrupt is over simplification.Empowering the citizen and making procedures objective and transparent is the key to success.
In this context,traffic enforcement is one area of brickbats.Without denying the existence of malignancy,citizens need to be empowered against abuse of power by educating them about the correct position of law.If you pay any fine,you must insist on the receipt.A policeman abusing power is unlikely to issue a receipt and,therefore,if you insist,the chances are that you will be allowed to go.But most of us panic and still others are too willing to strike a deal.
Though few policemen may go overboard in their zeal to collect fines or fill their own pockets,not every policeman is wrong.Let us accept that ours is not a naturally compliant society.Most of us violate one or the other rule every day.Each of us finds a justification for doing so.A policeman cannot absolve you of jumping the red light just because you were in a hurry.Many of us dont hesitate to drop names or threaten the policeman with dire consequences when caught.Many argue endlessly and then complain of bad behaviour by policeman.One gets respect if he respects the law as well as the law enforcer.
Another problem is our eagerness to bargain.For every bribe taker there is a bribe giver.Often,I receive letters abusing policemen and telling me how they did 50-50 with the policeman to avoid harassment (read going to court).I wonder who is the bigger culprit.The fight against corruption cannot be won by short cuts,and somebody has to take a stand against it rather than becoming party to it.
Another area of corruption is disproportionate and unfair expectations.In minor accidents not involving bodily injuries,90% of cases should actually be the subject matter of insurance companies and not the police.In progressive countries,only 10% of the cases go to police where people cannot agree about fault and liability.In India,the reverse is true,for,no one will admit to their fault.Now,deciding who is to blame is not easy but people expect police to deliver instant justice and compensation from the other party.This is beyond their scope of duty and the beginning of corruption.
Measures like BlackBerry and automation centres are a step to introduce transparency and objectivity.BlackBerry ensures that not a single penny is siphoned off.It also eliminates scope for over charging the traffic violator.Automation Centres are another user-friendly initiative which accept fine against violation tickets at any BangaloreOne centre or website,and help eliminate physical interaction between police and the violator.So dont break traffic rules,but if you do and happen to get caught,dont argue,or look for a deal.Pay and insist on a receipt.
What document am I expected to carry
You are to carry your original driving licence and insurance certificate.Buses,taxies and auto rickshaws must have permit and fitness certificate.These documents should be produced for inspection if a police officer asks for them.Alternatively,you can get a MASTER Card from the RTO which is proof that the driver has all valid documents.With this card,you dont need to carry other documents.
Will policemen stop me for checking
documents All police officers have been clearly instructed not to stop motorists to merely check documents.Only if a motorist commits some traffic violation can he be stopped,his documents checked,and be penalized.
Who can receive payment of spot fine
Only assistant sub-inspector (one star),police sub-inspector (two star) and police inspector (three star) are authorized to receive payments against violation and issue a receipt.No constable or head constable can issue a receipt and,therefore,receive a payment.They can,however,record the violations on the basis of which violation ticket will follow.This ticket can be settled at any traffic police stations or BangaloreOne centre or on the Bangalore Traffic Police website.In case a constable or head constable threatens you with spot fine,insist on getting a receipt and the chances are he will let you go because he is not authorized to issue a receipt or receive money.
What is the spot fine for drunken driving
There is no spot fine for drunken driving.In such a case,police notice is issued asking the person to appear before the court.Only a court is empowered to impose the fine.
What happens if I dont appear in court
If you fail to appear in court,it will issue a warrant.This may lead to arrest and stiffer penalty.
What is the punishment for drunken driving
In the first instance,there can be a penalty of up to Rs 3,000,which may extend to imprisonment in subsequent offence.
After being booked for drunken driving,can I continue to drive myself
No.You will have to arrange for an alternative driver who is not drunk or take a cab,leaving the vehicle in the police station which will be released after you have settled the case in court.
What about pollution check
It is mandatory to carry emission certificate.However,police have been instructed not to stop any motorists to merely check emission certificate.
Can police penalize vehicles with number plates of other states
No.The police are not authorized to penalize anyone for having the number plate of another state.
Why have I received a violation ticket for a vehicle I have already sold
Notices are generated by computers picking up address from transport department records.The very fact you have received a notice means that vehicle continues to be in your name in the records,even though you might have sold it.Selling a vehicle without insisting on change of ownership is a very a dangerous practice.Signing a delivery note is no guarantee of change of ownership.You have to insist on the buyer registering the vehicle in his name,failing which you have to get it done yourself at the RTO.Unless you do so,you will continue to receive violation notices.Worse things can happen if the vehicle is involved in a fatal accident or terrorist activity.You will have to suffer the consequences.
My vehicle got damaged in an accident.Police did not help me in getting compensation.
Insurance company and not the police can get you the damages.Police will only prosecute the accused for criminal negligence in court.
(The writer is additional commissioner of police,traffic)
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