The traffic department’s successful campaign against those who drink and drive caught Bombay high court’s attention, with court even asking the traffic department to start a similar drive, but this time against those who flout traffic rules.
Hearing a public interest litigation filed by the Bombay Bar Association and advocate Armin Wandrewala seeking stricter implementation of traffic rules in the city, a division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Vazifdar emphasised on the need for serious effort on cracking the whip against those who violate traffic rules.
“Fine and suspension of licence is the only solution for repeated offenders (of traffic rules),” said justice Vazifdar, adding, “First time impose fine, second time heavy fine and third time, suspend the license.”
MR Bhalekar, secretary general with the Western Indian Automobile Association (WIAA), had filed an affidavit stating that 46% of the total accidents in the world take place in India. WIAA’s counsel E Kotwal and advocate Rajesh Talekar instructed by K Ashar and company, argued that Mumbai should adopt a system, which is currently in use in Bangalore.
“The CCTVs have pan, tilt and zoom facilities. The minute a vehicle violates traffic rule, it is photographed and the number plate details are recorded. Traffic police in conjunction with the regional transport office (RTO), trace down the vehicle and a notice is sent electronically to the owner of the vehicle,” argued Kotwal.
The same system can be implemented in Mumbai at the cost of Rs12-14 crore in two phases, added Kotwal.
Wandrewala argued that there should be coordination of data between traffic department and RTO so that repeated offenders can be caught easily. As of now only data of registration of vehicles is available on computer, but chalan (ticket) issued to offenders is not.
Government pleader D Nalavade informed the court that the data is being digitised, but it would take some time.
Nalavade said the suggestions forwarded by WIAA would be forwarded to the traffic department to decide on feasibility of the system used in Bangalore.
The high court has asked the police department to file an affidavit, giving details of the number of CCTVs installed on major arterial junctions in the city and the number of offences registered with the help of CCTV footages. Rafiq Dada, counsel for Bombay Bar Association, said that system for free left turn should be reviewed at pedestrians crossings as motorists don’t wait for pedestrians to cross. “The idea behind it is that it is free for pedestrians first. Motorists do not follow it,” said justice Vazifdar.
Wandrewala told the court that the senior officers of the traffic department have been cooperating with them, however, the same does not percolate to the constables.