Sunday, July 1, 2018

Mumbai rain: Man penalised by cops for giving lift to strangers


Sources: Dinamalar ePaper

Also read the related stories

Mumbai rain: Man penalised by cops for helping stranded citizens

By Iram Siddique and Linah Baliga, Mumbai Mirror | Updated: Jun 25, 2018, 07:43 IST

Here’s a did-you-know: As per law, it is illegal to give a lift to strangers

Navi Mumbai resident Nitin Nair spotted a group of people, including an elderly man, stranded in rain and offered them a lift. The traffic cops caught him in the act and penalised him for it

Being a Good Samaritan doesn’t always pay, as Airoli resident Nitin Nair learnt to his peril last week. The 32-year-old, who had given a lift to three strangers including a senior citizen who were stranded in the rains, ended up paying a fine of Rs 1,500 and running from pillar to post for days to get his driving licence back.

In a chat with Mirror, Nair, whose Facebook post on the incident has gone viral, said, “My intention was to help people and this is what I got in return. If such is the law of our country, then no one will help a person even if he is dying on the road.” The unfamiliar law under which Nair was charged is Section 66(1) read with Section 192 (a) of the Motor Vehicles Act, which deals with using vehicles for transportation without the requisite permit.

The incident happened on June 18 when Nair was on his way to his office in Andheri from Airoli. It was raining heavily that day, and so when two gentlemen, who were wearing ID cards of IT companies, asked for a lift to Gandhinagar, he offered them a lift.

“After picking them up, a 60-yearold gentleman asked me for a lift and I obliged.” No sooner had he picked up the three men that a towing vehicle and a traffic cop appeared and started taking pictures of his car. “The cop told me that it was illegal to offer a lift to unknown people,” he said.


At Airoli Circle, one can find many people who give lifts in private transport for a fee. He believes this could be a reason cops felt that he was trying to do the same.

“Vehicles with a T-permit can give lifts and charge passengers. There are also apps used by private car owners who ferry passengers from Airoli to Andheri’s IT Park. These private vehicles do not have a T-permit. I was probably mistaken for them and the traffic cops thought I was charging the strangers who had asked for a lift,” said Nair. Even if that was the case, he wonders why the passengers were not asked if they were asked to pay for the ride.

Even after his licence was confiscated and he was given a challan, his co-passengers were not asked to take some other mode of transport. Nair in fact dropped them to their destination after the incident with the traffic cop.

Section 66(1) read with 192(a) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 says that no owner of a motor vehicle shall use a vehicle as a transport vehicle whether or not such vehicle is actually carrying any passengers or goods save in accordance with conditions of a permit granted by a Regional or State Transport Authority.

“There are two reasons this law was made. For the safety of the owner of the car and because people misuse it as a commercial vehicle without a T-permit. If it is for the safety of the owner, then why didn’t the traffic police bother to interrogate the passengers,” wonders Nair.

Nair was also taken aback by how tedious the entire process of getting one’s licence back is. When he went to the police chowky the next day, he was asked to go to CBD Belapur court to collect his licence.

“I had to take a day’s leave from work to go to court on Friday. From 9.30 am to 1 pm, I was in court and produced before the judge as if I was a criminal. The judge asked my name and I paid the fine. The judge exempted Rs 500 from the fine amount and I had to pay Rs 1,500. I was then asked to go back to the police chowky to collect my licence,” said Nair.

Nitin Pawar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) for Navi Mumbai, said, “I am awaiting a detailed report after which necessary action will be taken. Prima facie, it appears that if the Honourable Court has fined the person, then it must have considered all aspects of the case. Meanwhile, I have instructed all my subordinates to verify facts/intention before taking any action under section 66/192 of Motor Vehicles Act.” Should people be more wary of helping others? “If any person has good intentions, the law must not be applied in such cases. We must encourage people to help other people in a crisis,” he added.

Meanwhile, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Mumbai Police, Amitesh Kumar, explained that the provision in the Motor Vehicles Act is used to book owners of commercial vehicles which ferry passengers without proper permit. “In case a regular motorist is to be booked under this section, it is done only after due verification with passengers seated in the car who have agreed to pay for the trip. A fine is imposed only after that,” he explained.


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