In a move that will benefit autorickshaw drivers in the city but may lead to the harassment of passengers, the Delhi government has decided to curtail the powers of Delhi Traffic Police to impound autos, taxis for minor violations.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) during its previous 49-day tenure had initiated the process to limit the powers of traffic police but after they quit, the order could not be implemented.
The common people, who often seek police help to handle errant auto drivers, will not get any help when such an order will be implemented.
The issue was discussed in a meeting of the State Transport Authority (STA) chaired by transport secretary and commissioner Gitanjali Gupta and it had been decided that they would implement this order.
“Traffic police will continue to seize autos or commercial taxis and issue challans for offences such as driving without licence, fitness certificate or permit,” said a senior Delhi government official.
According to officials, due to lack of manpower, the Delhi government had transferred some powers to the traffic police under rule of 66/192 A to seize vehicles in case of overcharging, refusal, driving without PSV badges, uniform, misbehaviour by drivers.
“Now, the government has reviewed its decision. To reduce harassment of auto drivers, the government has decided to withdraw the powers. In case of minor violations such as refusal, driving without uniform or PSV badges, traffic police cannot now impound autos and taxis. However, they can still challan the vehicles in such cases,” said the official.
“It was a delegated power given to the police by the Delhi government...and delegated power can be withdrawn or curtailed any time,” the official said. The move will help the auto drivers a lot, who have been AAP’s biggest vote bank and had demanded action against traffic police for harassing them over minor violations.
“Suppose I live in East Delhi and on my way home, the traffic police forced us to carry a passenger of west Delhi, which is not justified. The right to carry passengers should be given to drivers,” said Suresh, an auto driver. The daily commuters, however, are not happy and said that it will give a free hand to auto drivers to harass them.