• Posted by CERC India
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Stopped by traffic police? Know your rights

When you are flagged down by a traffic cop, you may or may not know what you have done wrong. But be aware of your rights…


If you drive a two-wheeler or four-wheeler regularly, it is likely that you have been stopped by the traffic police at least once. At times, you may not even know why you are being flagged down. It is important to know your rights as a citizen.

You may have to face a traffic cop for the following violations: jumping a red light or speeding; driving without a helmet; improper parking; smoking in the vehicle; suspicion that you are driving under the influence of alcohol; using a mobile phone while driving, not displaying number plate, among others.

If you are stopped by the traffic police, don’t panic. Stop your vehicle on the side of the road and interact politely with the official. Do not get into an argument – cooperate with the personnel. If you have made a mistake, acknowledge it and express genuine regret. You may be let off with a warning.

Documents required

The traffic cop may ask you to produce the following documents. It is mandatory to keep original copies in your vehicle:

  • Driving licence
  • Registration certificate (RC)
  • Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate
  • Insurance policy document

According to a notice issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways it is legal to carry your documents electronically. But they should be stored and presented in the Digilocker or mParivahan app. Photos on a mobile phone are not valid.

Know your rights

Here are 10 things you should be aware of:pg27

  1. A traffic policeman can only issue challans when he or she has a government-issued challan book or E-challan machine.
  2. You can note down the buckle number or name of the cop and if it isn’t visible you can ask him for his ID card. If he refuses to show it to you, you can refuse to show your documents.
  3. A traffic cop cannot force you to leave your vehicle or take the keys off the ignition forcefully.
  4. Your car cannot be towed away if there is someone sitting inside.
  5. If the cop decides to confiscate your licence make sure you are given a valid receipt.
  6. If the traffic cop expects a bribe, do not succumb to pressure.
  7. If the police officer at the scene of the incident is of the rank of sub-inspector or above you can pay the fine on the spot.
  8. Your vehicle may be seized if you are caught driving without a licence or your vehicle is not registered.
  9. A traffic police officer has the authority to arrest you without a warrant if you are found out to be under the influence of alcohol or a banned substance.
  10. If you are detained by the traffic police for an offence, you must be produced before the magistrate within 24 hours, for the trial.

Strict norms 

From 1 September 2019, stringent penalties have been imposed for traffic violations as per the Motor Vehicles Act. Be sure to read up the new rules so that you are not caught unawares if a traffic cop penalises you. For instance, the penalty for driving without a licence has increased 10 times from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5,000.

The penalty for disobedience of orders of Authority and refusal to share information has increased from Rs. 500 to Rs. 2,000. The penalty for drunken driving is imprisonment up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs. 10,000 for first offence. For not wearing a helmet or seatbelt, or using a mobile phone while driving, the fine is now Rs. 1,000. For speeding or racing, the fine has increased from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5,000.

Finally, if you feel you been mistreated by the traffic police or harassed in any way you can file an online complaint or complain at the nearest police station.

Sources: www.thebetterindia.com, lawrato.com, gomechanic.in, www.thehindubusinessline.com

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