Ever helped a beggar at a traffic intersection? Or, for that matter, bought flowers or small items from vendors while waiting for the light to turn green? Well, for your information, both these actions are punishable.
Surprised? An ordinance issued in September 2002 empowers Delhi Traffic Police to prosecute drivers who offer alms or buy anything from vendors at traffic lights.
Violation of this direction entails a fine of Rs 100 for the first offence and Rs 300 for subsequent offences under Rule 22(a) of Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989, punishable under section 177 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988.
Most motorists are not aware about this rule and the police also hardly take any action in this regard.
In 2008, the Delhi Traffic Police did not prosecute anybody under these sections. Said a senior police officer: "What is the use? We can take action against the motorists, but the beggar or the vendor remains there, he will trouble the next motorist. What are the civic agencies doing about it?"
Asks Purujit Singh, "If motorists do not patronize these beggars or vendors, they won't survive. Action needs to be taken against drivers first. The other day, I almost bumped into a beggar at the signal near Tibetan Market at Janpath."
The traffic police said no such record (of prosecutions) was available for 2008. "We focused more on visible traffic violations," said traffic police chief S.N. Shrivastava.