Getting away with driving drunk in Delhi may be easier if you're a woman.
The traffic police prosecuted 5,523 people for the offence through special drives this year, of which only 12 offenders were women.
The fact that the department has only four women traffic inspectors out on the field may have something to do with this.
According to special commissioner of police (traffic) Muktesh Chander, while gender is not a criterion for prosecution, the presence of women officers is preferred when women are stopped for checks - especially late at night and in conducting breathalyser tests - to avoid any legal hassles later on.
HT spoke to several traffic cops deployed for the special drives. They said these were generally conducted very late at night and they often let women go, even if they were seemingly drunk.
"A lot of factors come into play when the person behind the wheel is a woman. We generally refrain from stopping them unless they seem like a threat because we do not want to get into any trouble later," said one constable.
But Chander said, "The fact that 12 women were challaned shows that the law is not completely ignoring women drivers who break the rules. If you compare the male-female ratio of drinkers, you will find that very few women drink as compared to men. So naturally, the number of drunk driving cases in their category also reduces."
Several department sources were in agreement, saying women were less aggressive than men and, hence, not generally caught on the wrong side of the law.
Traffic experts, however, begged to differ. "The prosecution data is not remotely related to the trend in the city. Especially in cities like Delhi, many women drink and drive just like men do but the repercussions for them are not as severe because of various social issues. A woman is somehow never suspected of mischief. Even at late-night pickets, if you have a woman sitting with you in a car, you are rarely stopped," said Suraj Sinha, a traffic expert working with road accident victims.
A ride gone wrong: High-profile Mumbai lawyer rams Audi into cab; 2 killed, 4 injured