Lately we have been hearing several reports from different part of the country where Police officers are taking strict actions against motorists violating rules and modifying their vehicles. A recent incident in Karnataka’s Mangaluru has triggered religious activists in the area. The incident happened on August 31, 2021 when, a traffic police officer on duty asked to remove a sticker pasted on the car’s number plate. The driver of the car took offence and refused to remove the stickers. The driver got in touch with religious activists and political party members, who gathered around the car and protested at the spot.
As per the reports, the traffic police assistant sub inspector had asked the driver to remove the ‘Team Parashuram’ and ‘Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah’ stickers appearing the number plate of the car. He also had ‘Om Sai’ and ‘Swami Koragajja’ stickers on the windshield. These stickers were also asked to remove according to Hindutva organization members and BJP Mangaluru Mandal president.
The car was driven by Babish Poojary. He was driving in an old Maruti 800 hatchback under the Thokottu flyover. Assistant sub inspector, Albert Lasrado of Naguri traffic police spotted the car and stopped the vehicle for verifications. The officer checked the documents of the car and after that asked the driver to remove the sticker pasted on his number plate and windshield as they were against the law.
The officer asked the driver to pay fine but, Babish Poojary said that the stickers were related to religious feelings and he will not be removing them. Meanwhile, Babish had also informed the same to Hindu organisation activists and BJP Mandal president. Chandrahas Pandit House, BJP Mandal president and activists soon reached at the spot and expressed their protest.
Arjun Madoor of Vishwa Hindu Parishad said that the police officer had asked Babish to remove the stickers related to Hindu belief because of religious considerations. He also added that the officer is against Hindu religion and the officer should not be put on duty. He said, the group will ask senior police officials to take action against the officer. The report however does not mention whether the officer went ahead with levying fine on the car for violation.
Authorities have not come up with any explanation regarding the incident yet. It looks like the officer was doing his duty. Such religion and caste related stickers are quite common on two wheelers and cars in India and cops across country come up with special drives time to time to fine offenders. In Uttar Pradesh, police had conducted one such drive to fine the offenders who were using illegal number plates or with illegal writings or caste name on it.
What does the rule say?
According to MV Act (Rule 50, 51 of MV Act, 1989), Registration letters and numbers shall be in black on white background for 2 wheelers / LMV Cars and Black letter on Yellow background for commercial vehicles. The sizes of the Number Plate and also the letters shall be as given in the pamphlet for each category of vehicle. Display of Number Plate in the front and rear side of the vehicle shall be as shown in the pamphlet. Fancy lettering is not permitted. Other names, pictures, art should not be displayed.