Remember we recently reported about a motorist getting fined for giving a ‘lift’ to a group of people who were left stranded in rain? It’s now being reported that the Mumbai police constable who fined the Samaritan has been transferred to the administration section. Apparently, senior officers of the Mumbai traffic police are miffed at the constable for imposing a fine on a good citizen. Also, the Vashi police station inspector has been asked to conduct a preliminary enquiry.
On June 18, Nitin Nair, a resident of Airoli, posted on his social media account about the Rs. 1,500 fine he had to pay for helping people stuck in the heavy rain. As per Nitin, constable Ajit Patil issued him a challan for offering a lift to three strangers. The constable told Ajit that it’s illegal to transport strangers in one’s private vehicle without the necessary permit. As per Section 66 of the MV Act, any person is not allowed to use their private vehicle as a transport vehicle to passengers or goods. As private vehicles are not authorised to ferry passengers, Nair was booked under the same section. Nair accepted his mistake in a court, where he was asked to pay a fine of Rs 1,500.
The action of constable Ajit Patil has left citizens aghast at the incorrect application of the law. Actually, this law prevents people from using privately-registered vehicles as taxis and evading the commercial tax. Of course, in Nair’s case, this law was grossly misinterpreted. While Section 66 (1) bars the use of a vehicle for a commercial purpose without a valid permit, Section 192 allows you to use even an unregistered vehicle in case of an emergency. Slapping a fine on a Samaritan who volunteered help to distressed citizens reflects rather poorly on the traffic police. It’s also counterproductive as it will dissuade people from helping each other in emergency situations.