Traf­fic of­fend­ers rush to lok adalats, get away with not-so-stiff fines

74% In­crease In Turnout Over July As Steep Fines Spook Peo­ple SAKET COURT

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Front Page - Aamir Khan & Som­reet Bhat­tacharya

New Delhi: Traf­fic of­fend­ers ex­pect­ing to be slapped with huge fines un­der the amended Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act were glad to be let off with lower ones at lok adalats con­vened at six dis­trict courts here on Satur­day. This was the first time the spe­cial courts were con­vened af­ter the new fines were in­tro­duced. An amount of Rs 16,96,285 was col­lected on Satur­day.

With the traf­fic po­lice is­su­ing only court no­tices even for com­pound­able of­fences — like jump­ing a red light or stop­ping ahead of a sig­nal — there was a

74% rise in the num­ber of peo­ple turn­ing up at these city courts as com­pared to the ones con­vened in July this year. The Delhi State Le­gal Ser­vices Author­ity at­trib­uted this rise to

peo­ple pan­ick­ing at the prospect of pay­ing steep penal­ties and pre­fer­ring to ap­pear be­fore a mag­is­trate to get a waiver.

The vir­tual courts set up ear­lier this year to deal with com­pound­able chal­lans rely on an au­to­matic system that cal­cu­lates the num­ber of vi­o­la­tions and is­sues a chal­lan af­ter adding up the fines. Ear­lier this week, a vir­tual court at north­west Delhi’s Ro­hini had fined a truck driver Rs 2.05 lakhs for driv­ing an over­loaded ve­hi­cle with­out doc­u­ments.

Dur­ing a lok adalat, on the other hand, the mag­is­trate usu­ally let off vi­o­la­tors with a lower penalty or a warn­ing in or­der to quickly clear the back­log. Delhi State Le­gal Ser­vices Author­ity (DSLSA) of­fi­cers say that since spe­cial courts got a good re­sponse on Satur­day, they were plan­ning to go for another round soon. DSLSA spe­cial sec­re­tary Gau­tam Manan said there was a huge rush, par­tic­u­larly at the Saket dis­trict court. Sim­i­lar scenes were wit­nessed at Ro­hini, Dwarka, Pa­tiala House, Tis Hazari and Karkar­dooma.

The num­ber of court no­tices has jumped by nearly 50% since the Delhi gov­er­ment is yet to is­sue a no­ti­fi­ca­tion al­low­ing the po­lice to col­lect fines for com­pound­able of­fences.

Court of­fi­cials say that the re­ceipts is­sued by the lok adalats can be pro­duced be­fore the traf­fic po­lice as proof of pay­ment for the fines fol­low­ing which they should re­turn the doc­u­ments that they would have seized while is­su­ing the no­tice.

On Satur­day, a bulk of the cases set­tled by the courts per­tained to per­mit vi­o­la­tions, rid­ing with­out hel­met and jump­ing the traf­fic sig­nal. The other cases were of

goods ve­hi­cles booked over­load­ing and ply­ing yond per­mis­si­ble hours.

“I have come from Farid­abad to pay the fine for jump­ing the red light near Delhi Gate,” said Ra­jiv Ku­mar at Tis Hazari. “I was told that the min­i­mum fine would be around Rs 500 which might go up since I was ear­lier booked for the same of­fence in Delhi. How­ever, I had to pay the fine for my im­me­di­ate of­fence only.”

There was, how­ever, some con­fu­sion among some of the for be­court chal­lans for com­pound­ing of­fences,” he added.

Priyank Ran­jan found wait­ing out­side a vir­tual court was clue­less about where to pay his chal­lans. “I bought a sec­ond-hand car and dis­cov­ered that it had been slapped with sev­eral chal­lans. I don’t know whether I will have to pay the re­vised fines or the old ones. I am be­ing sent from one court to another but no one clar­ify this for me. I have now been asked to re­turn later,” he said.

Court is con­vened once a month or once in two months to clear piled up vi­o­la­tion no­tices and non-com­pound­able traf­fic chal­lans Vi­o­la­tors ap­pear be­fore mag­is­trate, who de­cides the fine amount Amount for chal­lan paid at the court Re­ceipt is shown to cops who re­lease li­cence or regis­tra­tion doc­u­ments seized while is­su­ing chal­lans

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