Hyderabad: We have all broken traffic rules at some point or the other, got caught, argued with the cop and reluctantly paid the fine. However, if you would have carefully checked the challan handed out by the Hyderabad traffic police, an entry of Rs 35 above the challan payment is there. So, what is this extra charge of Rs 35 that traffic violators have to pay? The amount is the user charge imposed by the Hyderabad traffic police. The question here arises as to are the Hyderabad traffic police allowed to levy these charges on commuters who break the traffic rules.
The Forum Against Corruption (FAC) had filed an RTI questioning about these extra charges.
Responding to the RTI, the Telangana police giving the break up reads, “As per the GO MS no. 307, dated December 26, 2007 the violator has to pay user charges of Rs 35 along with the fine amount. Rs 5 is collected for e-Seva, Rs 15 for postal charges, Rs 10 for police user and Rs 5 for Andhra Pradesh Technology Services Limited (APTS) among Rs 35".
Founder of Forum Against Corruption Vijay Gopal says, “If the Motor Vehicle Act (MV Act) says Rs 100 is the fine, then the police cannot collect anything above that. The police went online for their own efficiency not as a favour to the citizens. Issuing a GO simply doesn't authorise the traffic police to do whatever they want.”
Mr Gopal adds, “The benefits they have for going online are that they don't have to deal with liquid cash, book keeping, efficiency on managing the challan, etc.”
As per MV Act 2000, section 6A(1), if the said e -challan was outsourced, then the IT dept of the state government needs to issue authorisation to the outsourcing agency to collect service charges for collecting challans online.
He says, “What Hyderabad traffic police is doing is illegal. The MV Act does not allow any police to collect service charges, user charges, convenience charges etc. Tomorrow like other aggregators, the police will collect internet handling fee, are we supposed to pay for it?"
“Under which provision of the MV Act is the police sending a copy of the challan by post and collecting extra for it? Today I am paying from my phone, then why E-seva charges, If I get an SMS about the fine, I pay it off, then where does the issue of postal charges come in? What are these police charges of Rs10? APTS charges?" Mr Gopal questioned.
Mr Vinod Kumar Kanumala, a traffic expert says, “Yes, there are many illegal charges being collected. For example, the high security number plate has no security feature. Smart card charges, when the card is not used smartly. Together these charges amount to about Rs 250. Since it is the government, no one will question them. Basically, e-challans are illegal. There is no such provisions in the act (old or new), this we came to know recently at a National workshop in Delhi about the new MV Act."
Anil Kumar, Additional Traffic Commissioner Hyderabad told Newsmeter, "Don’t violate the Law, Don’t pay anything and save Money. Don’t violate the Law, Don’t pay anything and save Money. Instead of questioning, he should follow the Law and traffic rules and set examples to others.It is easy to question and finding faults with the system. Regarding User Charges, this is an Executive Order".