Traffic police departments of various states in India have started using electronic surveillance of the roads. Police officers now sit in a room and monitor the CCTV cameras installed at multiple locations on the streets to issue the fines digitally. An Andhra Pradesh resident and owner of a Volkswagen Jetta received a fine for not wearing a helmet in his car!
The e-challan issued to the car owner amounted to Rs. 100 only but the offence committed by the driver is “without helmet/not wearing helmet” according to the official Telangana State Police website. Car drivers do not require to wear helmets in India, and this is not an offence at all. Telangana Police also uploads a picture of the offence while issuing the e-challan and the vehicle can be seen parked on the side of the road. The offence committed by the vehicle is parking the vehicle in a “No Parking” Zone, and it is visible in the picture uploaded by the cops. The fine amount is merely Rs. 100 but the vehicle has been issued a fine for the wrong offence.
A big deal?
Well, definitely not! Such wrong fines are issued all the time. When the traffic monitoring officers notice something illegal, they take a picture of the vehicle and the offence and select the type of fine manually. While the officers have to manually enter a lot of accidents during the day. In a case or two, the officers may select the wrong fine. As they are not directly communicating with the offender, such things do not come up when they issue the fine. It is only after the violator receives the challan or fine, they get to know that they have been fined for wrong reasons.
In the past, many traffic fines have been issued wrongly to motorists. Sometime back, a viral post showed a Royal Enfield rider getting a fine receipt saying “Not wearing seatbelts”. When the fine is done on the spot and such mistakes happen, the motorists can protest back but it cannot be done on the digital fines that are sent after monitoring the CCTV footage.
Such digital fines have become quite popular in India, especially in the states like Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The violators have to put in their vehicle number on the website to check for the fines. Else, when the cops physically stop the vehicle for regular paperwork checking or if a cop stops the vehicle for some offence, they can bring out the old records for which the fines have not been paid.
Recently, a cab driver in Hyderabad had to pay Rs. 16,565 in fine that he amassed for 102 pending fines. The cab driver parked wrongly and stopped on the highway to drop or pick-up the passengers. These offences were caught on the camera and the fine was issued. the cab driver never bothered to check it online and when he was stopped by a police officer for regular checking, he got the massive fine.