The State Government is contemplating measures to provide relief to commoners from the allegedly exorbitant fines for minor traffic rule violations. State Transport Minister CP Singh on Wednesday said that he has asked officials of his department to look into the provisions of the rules and see if the State can provide some relaxation on the fines.
Singh also met Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Wednesday and asked him to look into the matter. “We are looking into the provisions of the law. I have asked officials to see if certain relaxations can be provided to the public in Jharkhand,” Singh said.
The development comes on the heels of the decision by Gujarat government to cut down on hefty fines for traffic rule violations. Besides, Congress-ruled States such as Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have also asked the law enforcement agencies to be lenient on traffic rule violators and not slap hefty fines for at least three months.
Singh said that common people should be given time to get all their documents ready and understand the importance of following all traffic rules. He, however, added that any relaxation in the fine should not be taken as an opportunity to break the rules.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which was implemented across the country on September 1, has sent chills down the spine of common commuters. Fines to the tunes of several thousand rupees were slapped on people for violating traffic rules. In Ranchi, a traffic constable was fined Rs.34,000 earlier this month for not wearing a helmet and violating other traffic rules while riding his bike.
However, the traffic police here have lately softened their stand, sources said. On Tuesday, a person was not fined for not wearing helmet while riding his bike in Ranchi. Instead, the police constables gifted him a helmet and asked him to wear it whenever he rides his bike. According to sources in the traffic police here, since the implementation of the amended law the police have charged fine worth over Rs.50 lakh in Ranchi alone.
Transport Commissioner Faiz Aq Ahmed Mumtaz said that his department was yet to receive any official direction on decreasing the fine amounts for traffic rule violations. “We cannot go against the provisions of the law. However, there is scope for reducing the fine in some offences – the offences in which the fine is flexible and up to the discretion of the concerned police official,” said Mumtaz.
Stating an example, he added, “As per the law, some offences make the offender liable for a fixed amount of fine. We cannot make changes to this amount. However, we can charge lower fines in offences for which only the upper limit of the fine is mentioned.”