Motorists can heave a sigh of relief, at least for the next few days, for the Chandigarh Police have suspended challaning of vehicles for overspeeding in accordance with the new speed limits.
Confirming the development, SP (traffic) Maneesh Chaudhary, said, "We have stopped issuing challans for overspeeding in view of the claims made by an RTI activist, stating that there is a Punjab and Haryana high court judgment of 1995 that makes it mandatory that challans can only be issued after speed limit signages have been affixed."
The SP, however, added that as per the Motor Vehicle Act, there are no such directions. "The Chandigarh Police have already written to the engineering authorities concerned to remove old signboards and affix new ones as per the revised speed limits in the city." He added that the police had given wide publicity to the new speed limit notification by publishing advertisements in Hindi, English and Punjabi newspapers.
Chaudhary said, "We have asked for a certified copy of the order to verify the claims of the RTI activist, RK Garg, and will study the order in detail. Till then, challans for overspeeding have been suspended in the city."
Garg had highlighted the extracts of a 1995 order of the high court, in which a city advocate, Ajay Jagga, was petitioner. Taking up his petition, the high court in 1995 had instructed the police to suspend the challaning drive till they had affixed the mandatory traffic signages announcing the new speed limits.
Garg had sent a mail to UT police, quoting that the high court's 1995 order that SP (traffic), Chandigarh Police, had been authorised to replace and erect necessary signages for declaring new speed limits in the UT, within provisions contained in Section 116 of the Motor Vehicle Act.
As per Section 116 of the act, before challaning for overspeeding, appropriate traffic signboards have to be placed at suitable places. This has not been done, as signages with earlier speed limits are still there all over the city.
What the Motor Vehicle Act says
As per Section 112 of the Act, no person can drive a motor vehicle in any public place at a speed exceeding the maximum speed or below the minimum speed fixed.
As per Section 183, evidence (of overspeeding) based on an estimate obtained by the use of some mechanical device is mandatory, besides the evidence of one witness. In the case the Chandigarh Police, the radar only records the speed limit and it does not have the number plate or other details of the vehicle.
Know your limit
The maximum speed of four-wheelers has been fixed at 60km per hour on V1 and V2 roads, while the speed on V3 and V4 has to be 50km per hour.
For two-wheelers, the maximum speed limit on V1, V2, V3 and V4 roads has been fixed at 45km per hour.