In a significant move, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – led Delhi government has curtailed the special powers of Delhi Traffic Police to impound autorickshaws, taxis in cases of minor traffic violations, including refusal by drivers and driving without uniform.
The decision was taken in the meeting of State Transport Authority (STA) chaired by Transport Secretary and Commissioner Gitanjali Gupta.
Traffic police, however, can seize autos and take strict action if the driver does not have his licence, fitness certificate or permit and other serious traffic violations.
Several years ago, Delhi government had given a special power to traffic police under rule of 66/192 A to seize vehicles in case of overcharging, refusal, driving without PSV badges, uniform, misbehavior by drivers.
“Government has decided to withdraw the special power of Delhi Traffic police in cases of minor traffic violation. In case of minor violation – refusal, driving without uniform, PSV badges, traffic police cannot now impound autos and taxis and instead they can only challan the vehicles in these cases,” a senior government official told.
For instance, if a driver of autorickshaw refuses to carry a passenger, traffic police can not impound his or her vehicle in case passenger complaints against the driver.
“It was a delegated power given to police by the Delhi government…and delegated power can be withdrawn or reduced at any time,” the official said.
The official said that except some of these minor cases, earlier special power of traffic police will continue in some major violations. For a long time, unions of auto and taxi unions have been mounting pressure on governments, accusing traffic police of “harrasing them over misuse of rule of 66/192 A”.
In the last 49-day stint of AAP, Arvind Kejriwal had also advocated reducing the power of traffic police under the same rule. Delhi Autorickshaw Union’s general secretary Rajendra Soni said that under the rule of 66/192 A, traffic police challaned and seized vehicle for minor offences.
“After seizing vehicles, traffic police referred challan to court. After depositing challan amount through court, we would go to traffic police’s office to get the vehicle released”, Soni said.