No fine or bribe even after a traffic offence??!!

Metro Rail construction was about to start in our city. I was driving towards a customer’s office, near which an elevated station would come up. Traffic diversions had been announced a few days earlier, but changes had been made. Policemen, assisted by the Metro Rail construction personnel, were guiding motorists at the major junctions. I drove on my usual route towards my customer’s office since there were no ‘NO ENTRY’ signs. As I reached my destination, I was stopped by a traffic constable and asked to meet the police officer standing next to a police van a few feet away.

As soon as I reached him, the officer said, “You were driving in the wrong direction. You have to pay a fine of Rs. 500. Will you pay the fine now, or should I issue a summons?”

“I did not see any ‘NO ENTRY’ signs on the way,” I told him.

Without replying to my statement, the officer said, “Sir, please don’t waste my time.” Pointing towards 3 other persons standing there, he said, “These people are quietly paying the fine. Why do you expect special treatment? Tell me, will you pay the fine now, or should I issue a summons?”

Raising my voice a bit, I said, “Sir, at SBI on Gandhinagar Main Road, I took a right turn into Third Cross Street. At the end of Third Cross Street, I turned left on this road. There was no ‘NO RIGHT TURN’ sign on Gandhinagar Main Road, no ‘NO ENTRY’ sign at the entrance of Third Cross Street, and no ‘NO LEFT TURN’ sign at the end of Third Cross Street. If you can show me even one sign that proves I committed a violation, I’ll pay a Rs. 5,000 fine. If you can’t show me any such sign, you cannot impose a fine. Let’s go right now!”

The officer glared at me for a few seconds and said, “OK. You may go!”

Immediately, the other 3 persons asked the officer if they could also leave. He sighed and waved them away.

As we were walking away, one of the 3 persons asked me, “Sir, how come you spoke so confidently to the officer? Do you have any high-level contacts in the police?”

I replied, “I do have access to a couple of very senior police officers, but that’s not why I spoke to the officer the way I did. I had actually looked for the traffic signs that I mentioned. Since I could not see any of these traffic signs, I assumed I was driving in the correct direction. Even after he told me that I had been driving in the wrong direction, I spoke confidently to the officer because I genuinely believed that not I, the authorities were to blame for my driving in the wrong direction. I suppose you gentlemen had knowingly driven in the wrong direction, that’s why you were ready to pay the fine!”

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6 thoughts on “No fine or bribe even after a traffic offence??!!

  1. You are absolutely correct, it is not necessary ‘to know anyone high up’ or even the law. If you are in the clear when you stand up, the cops, or for that matter anyone ‘in authority’ get unnerved.
    In Bambiya lingo you + 3 others were sought to be easy ‘bakras’ to encash. In Mumbai, as the month ends and when they are low on cash, the cops pop up from behind trees to ensnare innocent victims.
    When I spoke to a senior traffic cop for special cycle tracks, he asked, “What is there for us?”

  2. Pulling authority is the best way to intimidate, and traffic police excels at this. They are big bullies. Where I live, the challans are printed in the local language that not everyone can read, and one never knows what they’re issuing. They once caught a friend of mine for a violation – not carrying insurance documents, and the challan they issued after collecting the Rs.500 was for an emission test. Rascals!

    • Inability to read the local language (even if one can speak it fluently) is a problem many people face in some parts of India. As expected, the cops (and other people as well) take advantage of this.

  3. It’s the same every where I guess. Just yesterday a friend shared that a cop stopped him for not wearing seatbelt. He gave the fine but asked for the receipt. The cop said I need money so can’t give u that!! Glad that you questioned the cops. Well done.

    • It’s the same, but not completely the same. The one difference between your friend’s experience and mine is: your friend had not worn the seat belt despite knowing that he’s supposed to wear it; in my case, I genuinely believed I was driving in the correct direction. After it was pointed out to me that I was driving in the wrong direction, I realised that the fault was not mine, but that of the authorities who had not put up the necessary traffic signs. That’s why I could speak confidently to the cops.

  4. Indeed, in India, police and other Government personnel take the citizens for a ride if they appear to be dumb or lose their voice… that is the common scene here. We common people never ever try to resist things and when something unwanted happen we are blaming the authority….
    And most of the time, the fault lies within us, even after knowing certain rules, we never follow them. Most of us think that rules are there to be broken.

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