Thursday, January 05, 2006

My first chalan (traffic ticket)

Yes, I did get my first traffic ticket. I am one among them now.

At 9 O' clock night yesterday, a constable asked me and another scooty rider to pull over to the side at Bhashyam Circle, Sadashivnagar.

As any body's first reaction - I also said "It was only yellow when I crossed the line". But the constable was no mood to listen. Especially during the Road Safety week (how many of you knew about that?). Well, in hte next 3 seconds I weighed all my options

-> Shout vehemently that it was definitely amber when I crossed the intersection and challenge the Asst Sub Inspector (can you believe it... the *sub* inspector himself has an assistant..) on facts. It would be my word against that of the Constable (the ASI was busy writing some other chalan anyway) I had no chance of winning that battle.

-> Submit myself sheepishly to the ASI and negotiate a bribe. This had 2 risk factors - If the ASI was an honest man, thenI would be in deep trouble. Second, I would lose the right to talk about morality for ever. So this was a definite no-no.

-> Do not stop, just run away. After all I drive a sports bike (seriously that is what Fiero F2 is classified as). Even if the old 50 year old ASI decided to follow me on his modified Hero-Honda, I could have gotten away. But Sankey road does not have too many cross roads to "sink". As it turned out, there was a lorry accident on the Sankey road and the traffic was moving dead slow. It was a correct decision to stop. I stopped.

-> Pay the fine (what ever it is) and go home and see "Mukta"

I chose the last one.

The constable asked for license and took me to the ASI. As he went aside to catch a few more, he kept on advising me about the ill effects of rash driving. I gave him the look-who-is-talking-look and went on. As the ASI started to write the chalan, the Constable promptly reminded him to trigger the bribe negotiations. He said "Saar, bill haak beka bedava keli saar." (Sir, first ask him if he is OK with cutting the chalan) ASI smiling said, "he will give...". This (for a man who is ready to bribe) is an unequivocal cue to start pleading guilty and bribe his way out with out a ticket.

I was furious, but I was in a tactical disadvantage. ASI had my license, My vehicle was parked and its number already noted... If I did anything smart, I would in deep soup. Here is where technology could have helped. If I had a mobile phone that records sound at the click of a button, then I could have had proof about the ASI/Constable's intent. Believe me I would have gone the distance if I had such a proof.

Well, since I did not stop the ASI, he gave 2-3 more looks and hesitatingly wrote the chalan.... When he finished, he said that I have to pay Rs200/- He added another baseless charge of "obstructing free flow of traffic". Absolutely untrue. But who could listen to me.

Now it got more interesting.
I did not have Rs 200/-. I offered to go to the ATM (which is 500 mts away) and get cash. Again, it would be of great convenience if chalan money could be paid through ECS or Credit card. But the ASI needed proof that I would come back... I offered by duplicate license (which has all my details) until I come back. But he did not accept it... He took my helmet... I got the money and paid him. Now my question is "If the ASI instructed me to ride 1 full kilometer without helmet, is he culpable?"

My charges against him do not end here. After paying and signing the receipt in triplicate, the ASI struck the whole thing off (see the picture). Is this a common practice? He said, it means that I have paid. Even though it is written separately in words that I have paid. Striking off could as well mean that the whole incident never happened and ASI pockets the Rs200/- I gave. My next question is "Is there a way I can ascertain that the fine paid actually goes to the exchequer?"

The last one is a killer. I am certain that the old man on the scooty was caught with me was of the brining kind. Although I did not listen to his conversation with the constable, I got a sense of what was going on. And he was not there by the time I returned from ATM (which had taken 5 minutes max). The ASI who took 10 minutes to write my chalan could not have finished with him so soon. Also, I do have my chalan number. There must be a "scooty-rider-above-50" chalan next to it. If not, then we all know what could have happened there. "Does any body know how to check all this? Is the new Right-to-information act of any use here?"

Last, to be utterly cynical about the Police (I do have reasons to suspect after the Telgi Scam) "Is this receipt real?"

All this happened when there was utter traffic chaos at Kaveri theatre just 500 mts south of where I was and a lorry accident 200 mts north of it. Our police definitely need to get their priorities right.

Prashanth Kota

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anandanubhava said...

Realistically, you can snap a pic of the cop with a cell cam & put it up on a website to expose bribe taking cops. Easy to do & might scare them! This sort of movement exists for eve-teasers - refer a Blore Times article on this.

Pranjal Mahna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pranjal Mahna said...

There is an innate advantage of youth that you lost... You could have run or slapped him silly (I'll advocate the first one).

How are you doing? Don't know how I stumbled here. O yeah! It was tadiandamole. Send me some pics of this place please! And visit my blog.

Satish said...

ಬಹಳ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ, ನಿಮ್ಮ ಬರಹ ಮತ್ತು ನೀವು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡ ನಿಲುವು.

ನಾನು ಅನುಭವಿಸಲಾಗದ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ಬದುಕಿನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಇನ್ನಷ್ಟು ಬರೀರಿ.