Following a Bombay High Court order, Mumbai Traffic Police has issued a department-wide circular ordering officials to take action against private vehicles sporting stickers like ‘Police’, ‘Press’ and ‘Judge’.
Per section 134 (6) of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Rules (MMVR) and section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), displaying a word, figure, drawing or sticker on private vehicles carries a fine of Rs 200.
While traffic officials don’t particularly refrain from penalising such vehicles, they have been accused of being more lenient towards them. As a result, there has been a rise in private vehicles sporting such stickers in a bid to evade penalties for minor offences.
The curb the misuse of such stickers, traffic police sent the circular to all divisions asking officers to take action against private vehicles sporting any sticker pertaining to Mumbai Police, Mumbai Traffic Police or Maharashtra Police.
Similar action has been ordered for those bearing court judge or press stickers.
Further, in addition to penalising the owners, officials have also been instructed to remove the sticker from the vehicle.
“People use the logo as a way to violate traffic rules and get away with it. Moreover, many cases of impersonation have also been recorded where they fleece money from unsuspecting motorists who either jump a signal or violate some other traffic rules,” Madhukar Pandey, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) told DNA.
Since such stickers are available easily in the market, anyone can put them on their two-wheeler or four-wheeler in a bid to evade fines or, in some cases, avoid paying tolls.
“These stickers are easily available in the market for as low as Rs 15, allowing anyone to paste it on the windscreen of the cars or motorcycle’s mudguard or number plates,” Pandey said.
The action comes amid an increase in the number of cases where such vehicles are seen parked in no-parking spots.
“Many complaints were registered lately wherein vehicles with police logos were reported to be parking their vehicles in a no-parking spot. Due to this, we will soon begin a crackdown on motorists who have pasted logos of ‘Police’ and ‘Press’,” Pandey added.
On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court also issued a similar circular to stop the practice of putting logos or letters pertaining to ‘Nyaydhish’, ‘Judge’ or ‘Metropolitan Magistrate’ on private vehicles.
While the move is in the right direction, citizens feel its success will be dependant on how diligently officials enforce it.
“Everyday netizens share images of such vehicles with traffic police and they often issue e-challans based on photographic evidence. However, the challans remain unpaid for ages as violators either don’t get alerted about them or simply don’t care about clearing them,” said Shubham Mhatre, who actively informs officials about violations he sees during his daily commute.
@RoadsOfMumbai @MumbaiPolice This bike with a sticker of “POLICE” is daily parked at a commercial complex in Goregaon (w).Rolex shopping centre. It is very much doubtful that he is a police personnel. How do one identify this?? pic.twitter.com/G9RnYkkNQY
— Nipul Pau (@PauNipul) June 24, 2019
“To make this a success, the traffic police will have to take stern action and set an example. Only when the disadvantage of bearing the penalty is more prominent than the advantage of using the sticker, can we expect some change. Also, similar action should be initiated against vehicles bearing stickers of political parties as they are often the biggest rule breakers,” he said.
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