Traffic constables in Maharashtra have been empowered again to collect fines from law-breaking motorists and auto riders with effect from December 10 last year, the state government informed Bombay High Court today.
Earlier, constables were stripped of such powers and only head constables, numbering around 300 in the city, were empowered to collect fines from traffic offenders. However, in keeping with a High Court Court order of October 28, 2014, the government has now restored the powers of collecting fines to the constables, government pleader told the bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah.
The HC had earlier questioned the state why it was sitting on the proposal of Transport Commissioner's Office to empower traffic constables to collect fines from offenders. The HC was informed that in February 2012 a proposal was mooted in a letter by the Transport Commissioner's office to the state government suggesting powers to impose fines should be given to all traffic constables to bring about effective implementation of rules.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Bombay Bar Association highlighting traffic woes of the city and alleging haphazard planning by the state and the department concerned. The government assured the HC that its order was being implemented. It said the HC direction to paint Zebra Crossings and lane markings on the roads was also being done.
The Court has asked Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to file an affidavit in this regard within two weeks. Advocate Armin Wandrewale, who intervened in the matter, argued that the constables should be empowered to levy fines. She also maintained there was no regular patrolling by police on state and national highways.
An 11-member committee, appointed by the High Court to analyse Mumbai's traffic woes, had identified 35 problem areas. The panel had said "haphazard, free or cheap parking" of vehicles generally led to snarls.
Compared to cities such as Hong Kong, New York and Bangkok, parking in Indian cities was much cheaper, said a report given by the committee. In Hong Kong and New York, pricing is market-driven with monthly parking rates for a reserved space ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. As a result, car ownership in such vertical cities is much lower than what the purchasing power of people in these urban centres would warrant, it said.
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