The Mumbai traffic police’s e-challan project, where fines can be collected from traffic offenders online, is still awaiting permission from the home department.
The reason: the law and judiciary department has cautioned the home department that collection of commission by a private agency for such services is not permitted by law.
The traffic police have already finalised an agency to operate the e-challan mechanism. Staff has been appointed and devices have been availed to collect fines using debit or credit cards. The agency has been allowed to collect Rs9.50 per transaction as facilitation charges.
The traffic police launched the project in the second week of January. When the proposal was sent to several departments for their consent, the law and judiciary department pointed to the home department that under the Motor Vehicle Act, a private agency cannot charge commission.
The finance department too raised objections over appointment of a private agency to collect fines.
“The finance department has raised questions over the need to appoint a private agency and whether it could instead be assigned to the police. It has also asked the home department to check the tender procedure followed to appoint the agency,” said a Mantralaya official, who did not wish to be named.
The home department has also asked the traffic police to engage a nationalised bank to collect the fines.
“After primary objections, the law and judiciary department has asked the home department to refer to a high court ruling that allows government agencies to collect commission as compounding fees. We are now studying the proposal and this is likely to take some time,” the officer added.
If the e-challan project takes off, it will free up about 30 traffic police personnel, who are engaged in collecting the cash from 25 police chowkies and depositing it to the treasury at Worli and then to the RBI.