The Har(assing)mless Face of Police System | UB Editorial

It was just another day for me when I came to work, made a checklist of the day and was just strolling through my mailbox when an anonymous mail popped up in front of my eyes. This guy seemed genuinely disappointed with the behavior of traffic police in the city. After one of my news article 300 Traffic Defaulters Fined by the Police in a Single Day He questioned me if covering your face while riding a vehicle is against the traffic rules of Udaipur as he was fined for the same a few days ago. For the time being, I couldn’t answer his question but the incident gave me an impulse to write this article instead.

I wondered if similar such incidents are faced by other Udaipurites as well! As for me, I was forced to relive one of my encounters with the policemen in the city. Some 2 years back from now, I and my friend (who was a male and just my friend) were exiting from one of the famous tourist attractions of the town named Ambrai. The broad daylight of the harsh summer made me cover my face to prevent tan as any other girl would do at the moment. A bunch of policemen approached us and the first thing that left his mouth was ‘Why have you covered your face?’

Note that we weren’t riding or anything. Now since it was just the two of us, I pretty much knew what these policemen were up to. So after some of their usual questions, they told us bluntly to empty whatever we had in our pockets. Obviously, we didn’t give them anything but the whole incident left me with a thought that even if we were a couple, it wasn’t a crime to be there as long as you are just sitting.

Source: Patrika

I’m sure similar incidents must have happened with many of you. But before we get down to any conclusions, let’s see what the facts have in store for us. According to section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, if you are involved in any obscene act in public places, you can be imprisoned for 3 months. But since the definition of the word ‘obscene’ is still not clear, the law is usually misused by the police. However, as long as groups like Bajrang Dal are ruling the date of 14th Feb in the country, such petty issues shouldn’t bother us, isn’t it?

Now let’s get back to the bribe part of the above incident. It has been quite long that the citizens have been facing problems like such. Having said all of that, it doesn’t come as a surprise that 62% of law enforcement officers take bribe wherein traffic violations to make 25% of it, as per an article by the Wall Street Journal. This takes us to the other aspect of a similar problem.


The season to follow the traffic rules

The season to follow the traffic rules has begun. During this season, you’ll find the gathering of traffic police standing at random places along with busy Chourahas. Several citizens are fined during this period for violating the traffic rules which mostly includes not wearing a helmet, not carrying a license, more than two members sitting on a two-wheeler vehicle, often you get fined for covering your face too and you obviously know the rest.

Now if you have ever noticed, these people getting fined are mostly the male members of our society, not the female ones. Following this statement, I recall another incident of mine. A few days back, while I was crossing one of the busiest Chouraha of the city, guiltily without a helmet, I witnessed the traffic police approaching the helmet-less GUY riding right adjacent to me. When I looked back the two of them were exchanging some statements hastily, apparently talking about the Challan.

Here I, in no manner, mean to disagree or disapprove the actions taken by the traffic police. But the only concern of mine is why there is a season of following the traffic rules? Why such strictness is not followed throughout the year? And why is there gender biases in following the traffic rules?

Oh and now that we are talking about it, let me mention some of the ‘not so basic’ traffic rules and your rights –

What all documents are you supposed to carry while riding/driving?

It is mandatory to keep the original driving license and PUC (pollution under control) certificate along with a copy of RC and insurance with you every time. Don’t forget to wear a helmet while riding a two-wheeler vehicle and wearing a seat belt while driving a four-wheeled vehicle.

What should you do if you are stopped by traffic police?

First of all, don’t get into an argument unless there’s a severe need to do so, cops are doing their job, so cooperate. Look what are they seeking out of you. Generally, if you have all the necessary documents and a helmet, they will let you go. However, if anything is missing, you are eligible to be fined. If it’s the latter, there are several things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Since people are naïve in the traffic rules, the cops tend to tell them that the real fine is X (big amount) and they will settle for Y (small amount) which is absolutely wrong. Generally, the fines of small offenses are minimal. To avoid that, you should ask for a receipt of the fine. This way the Traffic police won’t be able to lie. Also, traffic police not carrying a challan book or e-challan machine cannot penalize you.
  2. Traffic police are not allowed to snatch your key or force you to get out of your car or take any of your documents away (he may, however, ask you to produce them) according to the Section 130 of the Motor Vehicle Act. He may take the driving license away to seize, only after generating a receipt, in cases like jumping the red light, overloading, drunken driving and using the mobile phone while driving.

What to do if Traffic police are demanding bribe?

Never yield to illegal demands of the police. Do not attempt to bribe the traffic police. In case, he is demanding, note down his buckle number and his name. If he hasn’t worn his buckle, ask him for his identity card. If he refuses to give you his identity card you can refuse to give him documents or pay any fine. You can approach the traffic police department after that or simply file FIR against the misbehaving cop.

So yeah, that’s that. There are other endless issues floating out there like soap bubbles, but for now, one thing at a time. Let this be the beginning.

Have you ever had a rough encounter with the police in the city? What do you think is the right solution for these emerging problems? Share your story or better share your suggestions in the comment section below and let us know what do you think about the same.

Written by: Juhee Mehta

The blog written above reflects the opinion of the writer and not UdaipurBlog. Thus, it shall bear no responsibility whatsoever for the offense it may generate in the mind of the reader.

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