The new motor vehicle act came into force with the beginning of this September. As soon as the traffic police got the charge to collect heavy penalties from the defaulters, news started to come from around the country about the peculiar and extravagant penalty amounts being paid by people.

In a story, which comes from Gurugram, a man was charged a penalty of Rs. 23000/-. On being asked about the incident he says that he had to pay penalty while he was driving a scooter that only values Rs. 15000/-. The man identified as Dinesh Madan was charged Rs. 5000/- for not carrying a license, Rs. 5000/- for not carrying his RC, RS. 2000/- for non-availability of vehicle’s insurance, Rs. 10,000 for pollution certificate and Rs. 1000/- for not wearing a helmet. The challan was charged by Gurugram Police on 2nd September, Monday.

In another event that comes from the Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, an auto-rickshaw driver who bought the 2nd hand 3-wheeler for Rs. 26000/- was charged with Rs. 47000/- penalty for drunk driving. A truck driver in Gurugram was also charged Rs. 59000/- worth of penalty.

Well, it seems the government suddenly feels a serious urge to improvise the traffic management in the country. They have increased the penalty amounts to ensure that people start to comply with traffic rules. Penalties for breaching of any kind of traffic rules including jumping a red signal, not carrying appropriate documents, non-wearing of the helmet, overloading etc have been increased.

Well, there is one simple way to avoid these penalties. Follow the traffic rules. It’s that simple. But well for Indians it’s not as simple as it sounds. So, in case you come across a traffic cop before you get ready to pay the hefty penalties, there are some of the rights that you should know and exercise.

So, here is a list of the rights which you should know, before getting penalized. Thank us later.

  1. Before the cop penalizes you, make sure that he/she carries a challan book or e-challan machine. You must be given a hard copy of challan stating the amount and purpose for which you’ve paid it. It should have the particulars of the crime or the default committed at your end.
  2. There is a difference between producing and handing over the documents. A cop has only the legal power to ask you to show/produce the necessary documents. They can not ask you to hand them over. As per section 130 of the Motor Vehicle Act, the driver of a vehicle at any public place shall “produce” his license and other documents for examination on demand of the police officer and not submit them.
  3. If at any point you are at doubt about the police officer‘s identity, then you have the power to politely ask them to produce their identity card. Further, if the officer refuses to produce their id, then you are at the leisure of not producing your documents as well.
  4. You do not need to always carry your documents in hard copy. We live in a digital India and hence, every vehicle driver has been authorized by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) about producing necessary documents in electronic form. This has been notified via circular of MoRTH dated 17.12.2018.
  5. If any police officials have detained you, then they are bound to present you before a magistrate within 24 hours. Make sure that this happens on time.
  6. If at any time you feel that police officials are behaving rudely unreasonably and trying to harras you, then you have all the rights to lodge an official complaint against them.
  7. In some cases, it might be possible that a traffic cop may detain your license. In that case, you must be given a receipt for the same. If the cop doesn’t give it to you, you can ask for the same or ask him to return your license. Further, you should also know that they have the power to detain your license if you were caught driving after drinking, were talking on the phone while driving or you jumped a red signal.
  8. Many times our cars or bikes or scooters get towed due to no parking. However, a cop can not tow your vehicle if you are sitting in or on it.
  9. A police officer has all the rights to detain your vehicle in case you are found driving with a legal permit or a license or in case you were unable to provide registration documents of the vehicle.
  10. Do not try to bribe the police officer to compensate for the penalty. It is a criminal offence and you can face legal action against the same. Further, by doing so, you are encouraging corruption.

Bonus Tip: If you are caught by a police officer, it is better not to indulge in an argument with them. Starting an argument might frustrate the police officer and they can behave inappropriately. Further, they know law much better than you. Rather, try to stay calm and explain the situation to the cop. They can give you a warning and you may be left unrealized.

So, when next time a cop catches you, it is better that you remember all these rights and points to save yourself from the chaos. And a better option is to follow all the traffic rules, carry all the necessary documents and help the government and the traffic police to manage the roads easily.

Happy Driving.