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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mumbai Police chief rolls back FIR for traffic violation policy motorists seek withdrawal of all cases against them

Mumbai Police chief rolls back ‘FIR for traffic violation policy’; motorists seek withdrawal of all cases against them

Updated on: 28 July,2022 07:23 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sachin Gaad , Anurag Kamble |

As new commissioner rolls back brainless ‘FIR for traffic violation policy’, motorists who were penalised based on it heartily welcome the move, but also seek withdrawal of all cases against them

Mumbai Police chief rolls back ‘FIR for traffic violation policy’; motorists seek withdrawal of all cases against them

Chembur resident Jignesh V, 31, was caught at Nehru Nagar signal (left) Kandivli resident Dhiraj Naik, 24, was booked at Borivli (right) Akshay Jadhav, 26, was booked at Byculla

The traffic police will no longer register FIRs against motorists driving on the wrong side, with the new Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar revoking the harsh measure imposed by his predecessor Sanjay Pandey. While the decision has given relief to vehicle users, those already facing the FIRs are living in fear as the police say their cases will proceed as per the law. One of them said he almost lost his job because his office thought he had committed a crime.

A cop stops a biker for wrong-side riding, at Tardeo. File pic
A cop stops a biker for wrong-side riding, at Tardeo. File pic

Phansalkar has asked the traffic cops to book violators under the Motor Vehicles Act instead of the Indian Penal Code. As per Pandey’s order, every traffic division was told to register a minimum of 5 FIRs, or first information reports, daily for wrong-side driving. Only strict measures would ensure road safety, Pandey had claimed.

Though courts slapped cash penalties on the offenders, a conviction can potentially hurt them if they apply for a passport or a government job. The police said Phansalkar was not in favour of damaging the offenders’ career prospects as most of them are young. mid-day spoke to some of the victims of the road discipline measure.

‘I thought I would be sacked’
Akshay Jadhav

Akshay Jadhav, who works as an office assistant with a Parel-based firm, was booked at Byculla on July 4 for wrong-side riding. Jadhav, 26, said he accidentally entered the wrong side while looking for an ATM. “I requested the police a lot but they refused to listen. It was as if I have rammed into someone,” said Jadhav, who is pursuing BA from Mumbai University. “When my office learnt about the FIR, they kept telling me that I must have argued with the police. Their argument was who registers an FIR for wrong-side riding. I was scared I would lose my job. It was only after mid-day published my ordeal along with my photograph did they believe me. I thank mid-day for highlighting the issue. At least no one will face an FIR for such mistakes.”

‘I confessed but still no relief’

Rohan Kambli, a fisherman from Worli, said booking wrong-side riders for rash driving was unnecessary. “Three months after the case was registered against me, I was called to the court where I even confessed to wrong-side driving. I was told to pay a fine and contest the case. I hope the police will take necessary steps and quash the cases against people like me who have been booked for wrong-side driving.”

Even we felt bad: Cops

Traffic police officers said even they were not gung-ho about the drive. “We felt really bad while booking young motorists, many used to plead to us not to book them but we were bound by the order from the top. I had to book a boy who was going to a hospital and had taken to the wrong side to save time. We are happy that this has been scrapped,” said a traffic cop, requesting anonymity. DCP (PRO) Balsingh Rajput said, “The decision to charge traffic violators according to the Motor Vehicles Act was taken by CP after reviewing the cases filed till now. During the crime meeting, the CP mentioned that unnecessary filing of FIR in traffic violations hampers youngsters’ careers. Though maintaining traffic discipline is necessary but action should not be exorbitant. Therefore all the traffic cops have been asked to only charge motorists for violation, not to file FIRs.”

‘They booked me as I did not pay up Rs 3,000’
Chembur resident Jignesh Vishwakarma, 31, was caught at Nehru Nagar signal

“I’m into emergency services and when I was caught at the Nehru Nagar signal I was actually on my way to attend an emergency call. I was told to drop a cop at the police station. So I dropped him thinking that I would be allowed to go. However, I was made to sit for several hours. I had never been to a police station before. There was a guy who asked me to pay R3,000 and threatened me with a case. When I refused to pay up, they filed an offence against me,” said Jignesh Vishwakarma. The 31-year-old Chembur resident said there were no road signs at the spot where he was caught. “This was nothing but harassment. I’m happy that no one will suffer like us.”

‘Hope our cases would be quashed’
Dhiraj Naik

Kandivli resident Dhiraj Naik said he was taken to the Borivli police station after he was caught for wrong-side riding at Shimpoli junction. “It was not as if I had committed a crime. It’s good to know that they have withdrawn their earlier order. I hope they would soon take necessary steps to quash the cases registered against us so that our records become clean,” said Naik, adding that he was allowed to go home only after his mother came with some documents and stood as a guarantor.

No. of FIRs registered for wrong-side driving so far

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