If your complaint against a traffic policeman has not be looked into, don’t be surprised.
Since January 2005, the Mumbai Traffic Police have received 342 complaints against its officials of every rank — from deputy commissioners of police to traffic constables — but action has been taken against only nine officials.
Of the 342 complaints filed in the last five years, the traffic police have dismissed 320 complaints without taking any action, while departmental inquiries are pending in 13 other cases.
This information was obtained in response to a query filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, by Girgaum-based activist Jeetendra Ghadge.
Citing an example Ghadge said: “My friend had parked his bike in a parking zone, but it was towed away. The traffic policeman claimed that it was parked in a no-parking zone. He fined my friend Rs 200, but gave him a receipt for Rs 100. When my friend complained against him, no action was taken.”
The information obtained through the RTI query revealed that most complainants had grievances against traffic constables.
Of the total 342 complaints, 213 were against traffic constables and 46 against head constables — both being the visible faces of the traffic police.
Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said he would have to look into the RTI reply before making any comment. “I am busy overseeing the traffic arrangements at Chaityabhoomi and hence I cannot comment,” he said.
The traffic police claimed that the reason for the dismal conviction rate could be because most complaints were filed by offenders to get back at the officials who had caught them.
Their reply also claims that the traffic police have received a large number of complaints to “defame their officers, without any reason”.
A senior traffic police official on condition of anonymity, because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “You can’t possibly punish every policeman against whom there is a complaint because there are some gray areas. Also, there are complaints that are genuine, but the charges cannot be proved easily because of lack of evidence. We have to dismiss such complaints without taking any action.”