Not long ago I had an altercation with a traffic policeman near Amanora Park Town. The argument began when the guy stopped me just because my bike had a number plate of Gujarat and not for breaking any rule. When I brought this he became extremely livid for the fact that someone was teaching him traffic rules and brashly uttered that he wouldn’t let me go easily. Then the drama began.
Commenced the usual search of documents that began with NOC, since my bike was from Gujarat and not Maharashtra (This is the first thing a traffic police man asks if he stops you for a different state’s number plate). Being an IT professional with numerous relocations under my bag, I did not venture into getting an NOC for my motor vehicle, since according to Motor Vehicle Act, I am allowed to drive without NOC in any state for a span of 12 months. When I explained him this he counter-acted and started making up his own rules. A debate followed and I explained I am aware of this rule since I have read the MVAct. When he found that he wasn’t winning the debate, he asked me for other documents. I produced the rest starting from driver’s license, RC book and PUC. My PUC had recently expired and when he found that out, he stuck to it saying that your PUC has expired and asked me to pay the fine. I had with me an article saying a traffic police cannot charge you for PUC. When I showed him that, he at once started looking for other reasons to get me. He asked for my Insurance papers which, unfortunately I didn’t have with me since it was the wee hour and I was in PJs too informal to carry anything. He took all my documents and asked me to go fetch it mentioning that if I brought my insurance papers he would let me go. I raced down to my house to bring my papers and when I handed it over to him he had already called a senior official to further agitate me. He asks me to wait another half an hour during which he kept abusing saying things like, “The only difference between me and you is the dress I am wearing. If I remove this, then I will show you who I am.” The guy was utterly blunt and the way he talked was sheer shameless. Sometimes he would say things like, “I will put in you jail.”
“You are far away from your home place. Nobody will help you.” He also threatened me many times by saying ugly things and challenging me to do whatever was in my hands that nothing would happen to him and that nothing bothers him. He tried intimidating me saying that he would take my bike to the police station.” It was an incessant verbal assault. On one occasion he even put a finger on me, which I consider breaking the walls of my personal space. Worst was the way he harassed me mentally and tortured me despite me producing all the necessary documents, for more than an hour.
When another traffic policeman came he understood the whole matter and helped me take off understanding everything from my perspective. I wanted to make a complaint right then and there itself for all the mental horror and shock that I had to go through but I decided to let go considering it only a mere scuffle.
But to my shock, after around a month, this guy stops me again just by looking at the number plate, oblivious to the fact that it was me driving the bike. When he found out that it was me, he exclaims, “I wouldn’t let you go this time.”
The first thing he asked for was NOC. I thought we were over all of that and yet he comes back to the same discussion. He began the entire conversation shouting at the top of his voice, even though I was as silent as I could be. I provided my bike’s transportation proof to tell him that I still have enough time to go for NOC. He fought with me yet again for 20 mins on the same topic. When he realized I wasn’t budging he moves on to other documents. I provided all of them. When there was nothing that he could get off me, he finally realized that I wasn’t wearing a helmet, and started pressing on the obvious. I told him that no one was wearing it and that if there was an announcement related to that it would have been in the papers. I also pointed at so many people driving without helmets and yet he chose to ignore them just to get back his revenge. He started making calls to a towing truck nearby to take my vehicle to the police station. Meanwhile he made some other calls to his superiors for more support. I went on to take a look at his name plate and to my surprise he had removed it just so that I would not be able to make any complaint against him. (Isn’t that supposed to be an offence?) On asking his name, he brashly said that he would tell me that in the police station.
A towing truck came and as the guy was about to pick my bike, I decided to give in and pay the fine instead since it would have been far more difficult for me to go to the police station I wasn’t aware of in order to get my bike back. When a senior official came I tried explaining the entire situation to him but even he was sticking to the fact that I wasn’t wearing a helmet and if I didn’t pay the fine, he would take my bike to the police station. Around 6 to 7 policemen flocked around me, talking in their native tongue of course, bludgeoning me and making me go through the mental torture once again. I was alone and had no choice but to pay the fine. When I paid the fine, and took the challan I could hear him laugh and use abusive words for me as I was leaving.
This guy whose name I don’t recall but starts with D. G. ****** is a typical example of how demeaning and corrupt the traffic policemen really are. The fact that traffic police resort to bribery is out in the open and everybody knows it. But nobody is really doing anything about it. We have simply made it a part of our life.
His impudence goes on to show that there is still a lot of illiteracy flowing around and fake vanity that officials misuse of. Their power to control our ways of life is reeking of disgust since they do not follow the rules that define them as well. They manipulate regulations to their suiting and find ways to exploit the common man. I hope nobody becomes a victim to the mental horror and torture I had to go through.
I beseech you to take necessary action against him. This guy’s use of his power is a stain on the entire traffic police and the Constitution of India.
Fortunately I caught the name of the guy standing next to him, another traffic policeman whose nameplate read “Ajay Vijay Hagare”. I have seen the aforementioned man often around Amanora Mall, Pune.
We have a life, and we are trying to go somewhere. It could be ugly things or shattered realities like a morgue, a funeral, or a life changing moment. It could also be other important things like a meeting or an interview or a movie that requires us to show up on time. If you stop us at such an hour that too without a mistake on our par, you are simply messing with our lives, our grief and our opportunities.
A big suggestion would be to modernize things and embrace real time traffic cameras instead of traffic policeman to charge you when laws are broken.
I have the receipt on which I was fined and it carries the name of 'R. G. Sheikh' charged 100 Rs. on account of MVA - 129/177.
I hope people are listening.