If found operating with tampered meters, both the autorickshaw driver and the owner of the vehicle will henceforth be prosecuted in court, regional transport officials have said. Even first-time offenders will be taken to court.
The Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 has a provision to prosecute the permit and licence holder in a magistrate 1st class court for extracting more money from commuters by keeping the meter running fast. Officials will strictly enforce the rule from now on, to curb the fast rising number of meter tampering cases.
“Earlier, we used to only impose a compounding penalty on the auto driver and permit holder for being caught with a tampered meter the first or second time. The penalty used to range from Rs500 to Rs5000. If caught the third time we used to produce the permit holder in front of the Regional transport Authority (RTA). Now, we will directly prosecute even first-time offenders in court,” Tanaji Chavan, assistant RTO, Wadala, said.
“Considering the increase in meter tampering cases, we have been forced to take stern action. All cases registered on Wednesday will be prosecuted in court,” Chavan said.
On Wednesday, the Wadala Regional Transport Office (RTO) registered 32 cases of tampered meters in the eastern suburbs. Since the first week of December, the Wadala RTO has registered 120 cases against autorickshaw drivers, of which 80 cases are of meter tampering.
Transport authorities in the suburbs feel meter tampering as a major concern and have been cracking down on errant auto drivers from December 5. Andheri RTO have registered 218 cases of meter tampering since the first week of December.