If a traffic policeman asks you to show the PUC or insurance certificate for your vehicle, you can so no. In the latest order issued by the Mumbai traffic police chief, which is seen widely as an anti-corruption diktat, the department has been told not to demand to see these papers from motorists.
The move comes after joint commissioner Milind Bharambe issued a stern order to his deputies and juniors in light of various complaints he had received about the traffic police constables’ behaviour on the road.
“At various instances, the motorist and the traffic police personnel get into an argument. This is affecting the image of the traffic police,” Bharambe wrote to his deputies in the order.
According the order, the traffic officer must not ask for a PUC certificate, Green tax certificate or insurance papers apart from any other document issued by the Regional Transport Office (RTO).
The traffic police chief emphasised that constables use e-challan machines issued to them and penalise motorists only for offences, as instructed. The e-challan system was embraced by the city police’s traffic department earlier this year to go cashless in a bid to root out corruption.
This is also seen as a move to weed out corrupt practices prevalent inside the force where some constables on duty turn a blind eye to violations in exchange of money.
An officer in the force said, “The order has been issued to further continue and effectively drill down the anti-corruption effort started by the department with the help of e-challans. While checking for these papers, the policemen’s as well as the motorists’ time was being wasted especially when the strength is insufficient to carry out enforcement duties.”
Sources in the traffic department said a separate disciplinary team has also been formed that will report to an assistant commissioner to further put this order into effect. While there is a little ambiguity on the extent of disciplinary action against the policemen, officials said the special team will look after that in accordance to instructions by the traffic police chief.
The move is aimed to reduce the chances of arguments between the on duty traffic officials and motorists, who are stopped for traffic violations at junctions, the order read. However, this is not the first time the lower rungs were instructed to keep off the PUC. Senior officials in the department said the constables have been asked to stop checking for these papers in the past as well, however these instructions were not followed diligently on the ground.