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Old 20th April 2015, 15:28   #1
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Default Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them!

I usually do not post much on Team-Bhp, but have been a member since ages and there has been not a single day that I haven't visited the website. I know that there are already threads related to traffic offences and motor vehicles act, but felt the need to put my experience in a new thread, as it might be helpful to others and also to help me to get some more expert opinions on the same. It's lengthy, but I thought it was worth putting an effort into it.

Two days back, I was on my way to Uttan for a weekend getaway with friends. I was already running late. As I drove out of my lane to S. V. Road Goregaon West, when my wife's (co-passenger) phone rang. I strictly do not answer phones while driving. I have a habit of rejecting calls with pre-typed messages. But as I had to co-ordinate for the address, my wife handed over the phone to me without putting it on speaker phone. I just held the phone trying to move to the left to halt the car. Before I could do that, two traffic police officers, riding on bike behind us, saw this and pulled me over.

On getting off the vehicle, the traffic police demanded my driving license (D/L), which i handed over. He opened his receipt book to issue me a Form "L" Tem. I asked him for the penalty amount. He said, that if I pay him Rs. 600 against the "L" Tem, I can drive away with my D/L and he will take care of everything on my behalf. I found this a little fishy. I demanded him to show me the act, list of offences and the penalties. Meanwhile, the pillion rider, the other traffic police officer, offered that if i pay Rs. 300, there will be no Form "L" Tem issued. I went to my car, to speak to my wife, who is a practicing lawyer and to grab hold of my mobile phone for a quick search on rules. My wife was not well versed with the Motor Vehicles Act. When I returned to the traffic police officers, they asked me what was my final call? I again demanded for the list of offenses and penalties. To this, they were offended and abused me. They asked me to check the internet, as they saw me doing that near my car.

I told them, as they were not kind enough to show me the act and rules & regulations I had to check on the phone. To this, they started behaving nastily and the one of them suggested the other office to book me under Sec 250 (a) and 184 of MVA. To this, I demanded the list of offense to be shown to me before booking me under any section. The officer issuing me the Form "L" Tem, suggested to the other office that I should be video recorded for misbehaving with the traffic police, to which I politely said with a firm voice that I demand to see the section details under which I am being booked. Finally, they agreed to show me a laminated, cyclostyled paper which had no mention of any Govt. Dept. which issued it. Sec 184 mentioned driving dangerously with a fine of Rs. 1,000 and Sec 250 (A) mentioned use of mobile with a mention of M M (Mumbai Magistrate Court). Dangerous driving at the speed of 10-20 kmph on a jam packed junction! I protested that I cannot be booked under Sec 184, so finally they issued me a Form "L" Tem and asked me to appear in court. They just wanted to charge me with multiple offenses so that I could be fined heavily in the court, as I didn't agree to go as per their whims and fancies. They asked me to appear in court on 04/05/2015. If not for my agitation, they would have booked me for an offense which I did not commit.

Post this entire incident, I carefully read the Form “L” Tem. I Googled for all the mentioned acts and their respective sections on returning from the trip. None of the websites related to Motor Vehicle Act., Road and Transport Ministry, Mumbai Traffic Police had updated Motor Vehicle Act 1989 (MVA) or Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 (MMRV) under which the Form “L” Tem is issued and Sec 250 (A) is enacted. After referring to many sources and obsolete Govt. Dept. websites, I could crack the code to an extent. The Mumbai Traffic Police website’s FAQ mentions a fine of Rs. 100/- which can be paid at the local traffic police station (http://trafficpolicemumbai.maharashtra.gov.in/FAQs.htm). The Motor Vehicle Dept., Maharashtra has a different story to tell – a penalty of Rs. 200/- (http://mahatranscom.in/offen_penalties_schedule.aspx). As per my research, which I do not claim to be foolproof, as I am not a lawyer, Form “L” tem issued has a mention that I can get my offense compounded (settled) at the local traffic police station within 10 days of the offence commitment date and collect my D/L. As per the MVA 1988 Sec 177, talking on mobile phone is to be penalized Rs. 100/- which falls under MMVR 1989 sec. 250 (a). It also has a mention in the procedure issued by www. Mahatranscom.com (http://mahatranscom.in/pdf/OFFENCES_..._PROCEDURE.pdf) .

In order to reconfirm the same, I tried calling up few numbers mentioned of the traffic police website. And, I bet you will be ashamed of apathy of the system, for which we are completely responsible. I called up the Control Room Officer to ask about the same. The female at the other end confirmed that I can settle my offence by paying penalty at the local chowki. On trying to confirm the penalties, the female fumbled realizing that this might create an issue for the local traffic police chowki. So, she replied that she doesn't have any details on penalties, which I need to confirm only with the SHO, of the local traffic police. So to reconfirm, I called up Assistant Commissioner of Police, West. The Police Sub Inspector (PSI) on the other end confirmed that I can pay my penalties at the local traffic police chowki and get my D/L. When, I confirmed the penalties, he said it could be Rs. 1200-2000. To which i said, "Sir, as per Sec 250 (A) MMRV which comes under Sec 177 MVA the fine mentioned is only Rs. 100." He debated that the Act is amended, to which I replied that it is still at Rajya Sabha level. To this, he confirmed that the fine is Rs. 100. Post this, I was so appalled at the incident that I tried contacting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Western Suburbs. But his office clearly directed me to the Prosecution Dept. without paying heed to my words. Finally, I came across a very gentle PSI at the Prosecution Dept. who patiently heard me out and guided me to request the SHO to accept the penalty payment and release the D/L.

I am not trying to defend my mistake. We all tend to commit them and learn from them. But my point is, why are we being misguided? Had it not been for my presence of mind, I would have charged for a offence which I never committed. This could have led to suspension of my D/L. Who is responsible for this system and why is there not a transparent platform where we can clarify our issues, get correct and apt information and not get vague replies and get our grievances addressed?

Please advise me and correct any of the facts I mentioned above. Expert opinion and guidance is always welcomed.

Last edited by Aditya : 21st April 2015 at 17:37. Reason: Spacing
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Old 20th April 2015, 16:44   #2
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Mod Note : There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the forum experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use spell-checkers.

Last edited by GTO : 21st April 2015 at 12:29.
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Old 20th April 2015, 16:56   #3
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Default re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them!

@Trust In thrust: Knowing UP police well, if you would have insisted to get the challan, either of the two would have happened:

1) You would have been issued the challan of the correct amount
2) If the TSI / TI had not been present, you may not have had to pay anything. That is because in UP, traffic constables are not authorized to issue a challan

The key thing is to continue to be polite instead of reacting to the officer's (usually nasty) demeanor.

Last edited by vipul_singh : 20th April 2015 at 16:57.
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Old 20th April 2015, 17:02   #4
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Default re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them!

Dear akshladha,

You have raised a very pertinent issue and not everybody will have the presence of mind or perseverance to deal with cops in a similar manner. I suggest you highlight your experience to the media. The traffic police needs to be shamed; something similar to the no-to-VVIP-Racism campaign started by a popular news media.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshladha View Post

But my point is, why are we being misguided? Not for my presence of mind, i would have charged for a offence which I never committed. This could have led to suspension of my D/L. Who is responsible for this system and why there in not a transparent platform where we can clarify our issues, get correct and apt information, not have vague replies and get our grievances addressed.

Please also advise me and correct any of the facts I mentioned above. Expert opinion and guidance is always welcomed.
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Old 20th April 2015, 17:38   #5
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@ Trust_In_Thrust, the "deal" we crack with the police is giving them the courage to shamelessly ask for money. My wife also said that I should have settled the matter then and there, but at what cost, being abused, insulted on demanding your rights to know what are you being booked for, beg and still pay them the money. Some just behave like those traffic signal hawkers, who start with an obscene amount and then bargain their way.

I guess in todays world, two Wrongs (doing and offense and then bribing your way out) make one Right (walk away hassle free).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooney View Post
Dear akshladha,

You have raised a very pertinent issue and not everybody will have the presence of mind or perseverance to deal with cops in a similar manner. I suggest you highlight your experience to the media. The traffic police needs to be shamed; something similar to the no-to-VVIP-Racism campaign started by a popular news media.
I do wish to take it up with senior officials and social media post release of my D/L. Rightly said, I do not wish to jeopardise and end up in M M Court and end up losing a entire day. As, you do not get your D/L through M M Court, it will be sent to Worli post submission of fine determined by the Magistrate and then to the RTO issuing office, where I need to collect it from. This will cost me nearly 2 days and unnecessary charges.

Last edited by GTO : 21st April 2015 at 12:32. Reason: Quoted post deleted
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Old 20th April 2015, 19:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akshladha View Post
I usually do not post much on Team-Bhp, but have been a member since ages and there has been not a single day that i haven't visited team-bhp. I know that there are already threads related to traffic offences and motor vehicle act, but felt the need to put my experience as a new thread, as it might be helpful to others and also it will help me to get some more expert opinions on the same. Its lengthy, but I thought it was worth putting in effort.



Please also advise me and correct any of the facts I mentioned above. Expert opinion and guidance is always welcomed.

Phew. That's a charged post. As mentioned in an earlier post, I was in a similar position to yours after being wrongly challaned. Angry at the 'system'.

Long story short - Once you are served with a paper to the court for a violation, you have to visit the court. There you may plead with the court. Its your word against theirs. If you want to challenge them, you have to file criminal proceedings against the erring officer.


Short practical advice: Next time talk your way out of the situation or pay the 300 bucks.

'Bade Bade deshon mein choti choti baatein hoti rehti hain'

The traffic wallahs know the system is stacked against us and the corrupt will extract their pound of flesh.


If you're willing to spend your time, money, effort and can get legal help from your wife, you'll have to build a case and your wife will have to be a witness. Or you could go visit the offending cops' superiors to sort things out.

All this will only give you more stress and frustration if you're forced to spend your productive time pursuing 'action against the erring official' .

Woooooooosah. And let it go.
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Old 21st April 2015, 13:49   #7
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Default Re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them

akshladha, commend you for your diligence and refusing to be bullied into giving a bribe. Well done.
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Old 21st April 2015, 14:14   #8
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Default Re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them

What a co-incidence! A similar thing happened to me last week. The traffic constable told me that I could get the license released from the local chowki after paying a fine. On visiting the local chowki, the cop tells me that I'd have to go to court on the date specified in the challan. I don't know whether he was trying to make me grease his palms or butter him but I just walked off from there dejected. Have my hearing on 29/04/15 . Lesson learnt...no mobile phone while driving.
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Old 21st April 2015, 14:38   #9
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Default Re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them

Similar incident happened to me near Saroornagar, Hyderabad. Near the signal, a mini bus was before me so I could not see the traffic lights. And a pack of heavily honking bikers behind me - they were so insistent that I cross the road. So when the time for crossing the road came the lights had turned orange and the cop flagged me to a side. He started by charging me 1000 for signal jump. I told him the bus was very close and it was difficult to make out the lights. It was confusing so please, could he call it a minor offence. He dialed it down to 600. My wife joined and did some talking and the cop finally took 400.

I checked the traffic website. It is 100 for signal jumping. I think they are revising it now to 1000 this month.

The thing is, he kept saying 'Deposit the license, RC, insurance and collect from police station later.'
If only we can deny lawfully and say something in terms of 'Ok. I will pay my challan online. Please issue it. Thank you officer'

By the way, I tried this line and he repeated his former assault 'Deposit License, RC...'

Last edited by SyncNest : 21st April 2015 at 14:40.
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Old 21st April 2015, 15:06   #10
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Default Re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them

Its funny that only today morning i was fined 500 rs (bangalore - in front of manipal hospital) for an offence that i did not commit / was forced to commit, and i see that its a standard practice across the country.

Story goes like this - in front of manipal hospital (old. airport road) towards marathahalli, I cross the signal when it was green and as soon as am midway through the signal turns red (without moving to amber) and the pedestrian signal starts beeping. out of the blue two cops jump in front of my car and ask me to park it on the side. On enquiring I was told that I jumped the signal and have to pay fine of Rs.300. I protested to this and gave him the reason that you guys are controlling the signal manually and then eventually make us pay for no fault of us. Plus even if i did commit the offence, jumping signal is only Rs. 100/- per my memory. The cops (inspector & constable) says that now I have to pay Rs.500/- wherein because I endangered the lives of pedestrians, reckless driving has been added for Rs.400/- . After lots of argument, the constable says that its commisioner's order after the incident at Hebbal to include "reckless driving" when anyone jumps signal. Although they failed to explain how I can be reckless when I am driving in bumper to bumper traffic.

No amount of reasoning worked and eventually had to part with Rs.500/- (with receipt ofcourse).
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Old 21st April 2015, 15:27   #11
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Default Re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them

Its been happening for a long time now. In mumbai its the cops that roam around on bikes, following cars are the ones who are greedy (mostly). They might even demand your house if you are unaware and put your guard down.

However at regular checks/nakabandi, big junction where there are 3 or more cops standing, the fines are as per rule and reasonable challans (tickets) are issued on the spot.

I say play safe, don't break any rules, don't give them a reason to stop you and incase a mistake is made accept it, get a challan/ticket no matter how big the amount and pay it officially. Atleast legal collection of fine will go up and some of that money might be used to improve the system.
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Old 21st April 2015, 15:28   #12
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Default Re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them

The list of penalties is mentioned on the below link,

http://transport.bih.nic.in/Penalties.htm
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Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them!-fines.png  


Last edited by Rehaan : 22nd April 2015 at 18:12. Reason: Formatting was messed up. Uploading as an image instead
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Old 21st April 2015, 16:58   #13
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Default Re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them

I don't know how many here have had any kind of experience with the traffic police in Punjab, but I feel they are the worst people to deal with in a case such as mentioned in the opening post. I am sorry if I generalize, but these fellows are uncouth, rowdy and drunkards whose single point agenda is to harass motorists and fleece them. Over the years I have been stopped by Punjab traffic police personnel many a times - sometimes for the right reason and most of the times their wrong suspicion. But every time their motive was ulterior.

I have kind of made a pledge that anytime I am stopped by them, I will kind of give it back to them and tell the truth on their faces(what I feel about them) but never ever try to beg them for forgiveness or reduce or wave off the fine. I have decided to face the consequences. Surely this is irrational and I am guilty of wasting precious family time in sorting out the issues that I willingly take upon myself.

I have realized you can't follow the law. It just doesn't exist. It does on paper, but it lies defeated in front of the whole value chain of corruption which starts at the lowest level and you all know where it ends. Excuse me for the rant. Which it ends here. My takeaway on this from the experience (which is bloody good) I have is:

1) RTI - these three letters are your friend. Just utter them, they act as magic

2) Don't wilt in front of these people. Stand your ground, fight with them then and there without stooping yourself to their level. Be pragmatic and intelligent in how you deal with them.

3) Being a law abiding citizen and using the law to force sense into these men in not an option. Law has been reduced to a mockery.
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Old 21st April 2015, 19:51   #14
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Default Re: Scam alert: Cops overstating penalty. Verify traffic fines before actually paying them

It's a common experience. Many people get charged for reckless driving.

Example: you may plead that they were doing only 10 kmph though you were entering a one way street the wrong way. I think the logic is that any one coming the right way could be in danger because of your incorrect driving.

W.r.t the OP's grouse - maybe, just maybe, someone else could have bumped into your vehicle while you were on the phone. Therefore you were reckless. Makes sense?

Another true example - a year ago I was slowing down at a nasty road hump. Another car didn't slow down in time and my boot was damaged. That driver was extremely apologetic and agreed to pay my full repair cost. It was around 40k. He paid the full amount. The only request was can we give a police complaint so that he can claim for his car. I had no issues.

We both went to the station. Explained that we both agreed to settle amicably. No bad feelings whatsoever, etcetera. Could they please give us a formal acknowledgement? They said there are some fees to be paid. I thought, well here it comes. A shakedown.

But NO. They charged both of us with reckless driving. They gave a formal receipt for Rs 500 each. I swear it's true. I couldn't believe it when I saw the receipt details. It actually said "reckless driving".

I wasn't in an arguing mood since I wanted to go to the garage quickly. But that's the way it rolled that day.

Cheers.
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Old 21st April 2015, 22:10   #15
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Victory at last! Though it wasn’t easy, but I paid my fine at the nearby Traffic Police Station and got my D/L .

So the story goes this way. I reached the Traffic Police Chowki at 2 p.m. as the time for paying fine is from 11 am to 5 pm. I went to the window and showed him the form “l” tem. The office clearly denied and said I have to pay my fines to MM Borivali Court as he/she is only authorized to decide the fine. So I told him that I was booked under sec. 250 (A) MMRV, 1989, which is r/w (read/write) as sec. 177 MVA, 1988. As per MVA all offences under sec. 177 can be compounded with a fine of INR 100 for first offence. This was confirmed with PSI at the prosecution. I knew the name of the PSI I spoke to, which I told him. He asked me to call the PSI again and confirm, as they have never accepted fine for sec. 250 (A).

I called the Prosecution, but the PSI who I had spoken to was not available. I spoke to the PSI who answered and got a confirmation that I could pay the fine. I asked him to speak to the traffic officer, but he hung up before that. I conveyed the same to the Traffic Officer who was at the desk, but he asked me to make him speak to the Prosecution Dept. We I called again, the concerned person answered, but it seemed like he realized that I was calling to confirm again. So he pretended that her couldn’t hear me and hung up. Post that the phone was continuously busy. All I can conclude of this, and from my past experience, that he didn’t wish to confirm and let me go off the hook easily.

I again tried reasoning out with the person on the window. There was one more officer having his lunch. He tried to misguide me by saying that my knowledge is incorrect and sec. 250(A) is under Central Motor Vehicle Act. I still contested that it is under MMRV. To which he argued that if it was under MMRV, why the officer who booked me didn’t mention it on the slip. I moved away from the window and tried calling up various departments in the Traffic Police. Prosecution was not accessible; ACP Western Dept. Office shrugged me off saying please visit the Traffic Police website. I called up a lawyer friend who confirmed that I was right. This was noticed by the other Traffic Police Officer who finished his lunch and had come out to wash his hands. He approached me, to which I again explained him the entire situation. He again told me that I have some wrong information and I need to approach the court. After showing him the Traffic Police website FAQ, he told me to wait till I get through the Prosecution.

After 10 minutes, I approached the window again. By now the person who was having lunch was at the window. I asked him for my D/L again, but he demanded that he should have a word with the Prosecution. I felt like blasting on him that he should be the one who should go and check the rules. But then my D/L was on stake. So I politely persuaded him again to which he finally agreed to release my D/L on a fine of INR 100. He took a note of my number though.

It did take me an entire hour, but better than going to court, waste a day and then another day to collect the D/L from the local RTO. And it feels nice to fight for right lawful procedure and not let these curroupt office take me for a ride.

I do propose to write to the JC, DCP & ACP and all the possible authorities. It might be time consuming, but cannot let these law breakers who are meant to protect the law misuse the ignorance of common man.
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