Got a traffic ticket by mistake? Police say no chance

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"I received a notice for parking in a ‘no parking’ area on 14th March in Siddiah Puranik Road, near KHB Colony. This road is in Basaveshwaranagar. I don’t even recall going to this area at least in the last six months and I am sure no one has even taken my vehicle (car) to this place," complains Anantha Murthy, who wrote to Citizen Matters about his experience. He claims that the notice he received from the Traffic Police is baseless.

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Traffic police issuing a ticket

Traffic Police issuing ticket to traffic violator (pic: Supriya Khandekar)

Sumit Chandra, an IT professional who travels from RT Nagar to Jayadeva Circle everyday says he received a notice for jumping a signal at MG Road on 7th March but he claims he never violated traffic rules, "I never jump signals and I remember not jumping a signal ever till date. I was shocked to receive this notice," he explains.

These are just a few among many who claim to have received wrong notices for reasons such as driving over the speed limit, parking at no parking zones, jumping signals and so on. But the traffic police department denies any major flaws in issuing notices to the traffic violators.

Praveen Sood, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) says, "Some complaints are simply baseless. Ideally a person will get a notice within 20-25 days of (the incident)." He feels it is not believable that the person complaining can remember clearly if he/she were talking on phone while driving at a particular date and time in the past. "I would ask that person to prove (to) me that he has not committed the violation and then complain. It is his word against mine." However, he accepts that there can be a probability of two to three per cent error from his department’s side.

Sood says that the process of filing a complaint and eventually sending the notice is very elaborate and precise with very little scope for errors.

"The moment I catch somebody for overspeeding on the Devanahalli road, the first thing he does is deny any speeding, he continues till I show my machine (the speed gun). After that he argues that my machine is not working properly and I am trying to earn money from him. Once this argument fails he questions why the speed limit should be 80 kilometres/hour and not 120 kilometres/hour. Once I am done explaining, he argues that because it was an empty road, he can jolly well drive at full speed…The arguments are endless. The person caught sometimes gets angry and abuses us too." – R Ramesh, a constable

When an offender is caught, details of his vehicle are noted down in an elaborate form called FTVR (a traffic violation record used to note incidents in the field). This form has different columns describing the nature of violation, vehicle number, type of vehicle (two-wheeler, three-wheeler or four-wheeler), model number, colour of the vehicle, date and time of offence and place. After filling in all these details in the FTVR booklet they are then fed into a computer to tally it with the RTO records. Once the records match, a notice is generated and sent to the vehicle owner. "Roughly one lakh FTVRs are produced in a year out of which there are chances of one or two per cent for human error." claims Sood.

Though Sood dismisses any chance of error in sending out traffic violation notices, traffic constables on the signals say that while noting down vehicle numbers amidst traffic, there is a possibility of making mistakes. However, they also agree that because of the tally system there is very less chance of issuing wrong notices.

The other side

As far as complaints are concerned, traffic constables have a different story. R Ramesh, who is often on the road duty, says that the moment he catches anyone for violating traffic rules he (like his fellow constables on road) has to tolerate a 20 minute argument with the violators followed by a 10 minute explanation and warning, only then he says he charges a fine. "Meanwhile we also have to keep track of the ongoing traffic," he adds, which makes them miss out catching other offenders.

Ramesh’s colleagues go through similar experiences. They agree that some of them have spoiled the image of their department by taking bribes. The constables say most of them are sincere workers but do not get any respect from the public. "People argue and fight when we catch them for jumping a signal or if we ask them not to stop on the zebra crossing when it is a red signal," says Hanumanthaiah, a traffic constable.

Meanwhile Sood also confesses, "We are not catching even 10 per cent of the actual traffic violators. The total number of violators is much more than what we are able to catch and fine.

However, Sood explains that he also receives genuine complaints. He says sometimes people who have sold their vehicles keep receiving notices, since they have not informed the RTO about the change in ownership. Sometimes people don’t even know who actually owns their vehicle is as they might have sold it through a broker. While the vehicle changes many hands and the original owner is clueless about it, he/she keeps getting notices because the ownership is not changed in the RTO records.

"We specifically push the owners in such cases to inform the RTO immediately because if the vehicle is involved in any criminal activity or terrorists use it, then the person held will be the original owner as the vehicle still remains in his name," explains Sood. He explains that another kind of genuine complaint is when people change their residential address. The current resident keeps receiving notices since the previous owner did not inform the RTO.


17 Comments

  1. On last year I got a parking notice and have paid that. Though the area mentioned is on my way to home and never ever parked there. Got another one for parking in Kalasipalya. I was in office at the date and time mentioned. Went to Traffic Management Center on Queens Road. No entry is in their database about the vehicle details. I have been told to visit to Kalasipalya traffic police center and find out from the inspector about the details. Gave a written complaint with a hope that there is no fake number plate vehicle same as mine.
    Once in evening near Adugodi I have been asked to stop while crossing a signal in yellow light (NOT red light and stopped as soon as been asked) by a police. He then asked me to pay 500/- I asked him to give me the ticket and I’ll pay online. He then seized my RC book and asked to pay cash only to him. He gave me a ticket for Rs 600/-for dangerous drive and red signal jump. When I have given him 2000/- note, he returned be 1300/-. 100/- is for him only. What a nice police inspector.

  2. I received a ticket for my car for parking violation on independence day at “commercial street junction” . I spent most of the day watching TV & I never took my car out that day! No image/video evidence available on the traffic police website! There must be some typo error when the police have recorded the reg number. I am going to try and contact their office and check. Hope to get rid of this ticket without paying unnecessary fine.

  3. I received a ticket for my car for parking violation on independence day at “commercial street junction” . I spent most of the day watching TV & I never took my car out that day! No image/video evidence available on the traffic police website! There must be some typo error when the police have recorded the reg number. I am going to try and contact their office and check. Hope to get rid of this ticket without paying unnecessary fine.

  4. Receiving police ticket by post has become very common in Bangalore (like monthly electric and water bill) ever since police has become tech savvy and they have been given digital camera and blackberry and looks like they have been given a target to issue tickets. Once your vehicle number gets entered into their system they send tickets regularly. I have received 6 ticket even after paying the ticket promptly, is very difficult to deal with rude and arrogant police. I have received parking fine for parking right behind Jayanagar police satiation residential area where I made sure before parking, there was no – no parking sign. Another ticket for parking in Sangam Circle in front of relative house no parking board seen in last 13 years. Another ticket for making a right turn from Kanakapura road to Outer ring road where Police himself directed me to turn previous day. This is Metro construction area and forget about road signs, we cannot even see the traffic light which is blocked by construction structures the cop who stopped me was so rude when I removed the belt to get out of the car he asked for 100Rs bribe as I refused bribe he sends two tickets one for not wearing the seat belt… wonderful cops.. If they do their job of controlling the traffic so religiously Bangalore traffic problem would come down by 50%. Proper evidence to should be given to pubic from Police department and it is our right to know if the ticket given is genuine or their way to meet their targets. Personally, I’m very cautious even in stopping (not parking)the car in heavy traffic roads, we citizen deserve better treatment from bureaucrats. PLEASE DISPLAY THE ROAD SIGNS and capture the pictures with Road signs to show the violation when issuing tickets.

  5. Visited BangaloreOne website recently and found out that there was a traffic violation notice upon my wife’s two wheeler. Got surprised after seeing the details because, the day & time on which the supposed traffic violation (OneWay/NoEntry) happened was Sunday Aug 26, 2012 at time: 1856 hrs.

    From Aug 5, 2012 till Sep 29, 2012 I was out of India & during that time period, my wife was ‘working from home’ & has never visited this so called ‘Periyar Circle’ area where this ‘One Way / No Entry’ traffic violation was reported. We reside in ‘Hebbal’ and my wife works either at Whitefiled or at Manyata Tech Park accordingly as per work schedule. That particular Sunday & at that particular time, she was at home only playing with our kid (daughter) and talking with neighbors who visited our home then.

    Today, have visited the web site ‘http://www.bangaloretrafficpolice.gov.in/’ and entered the two wheeler details and after clicking the ‘Click Here’ link to view the violation evidence, got a page that displayed : “Evidence could not be published for this particular notice. Evidence is available only for the violations captured from traffic surveillance cameras.”

    This notice could be due to either typo or the traffic constable would have randomly entered the registration number which tallied with that of my wife’s two wheeler (they do know about the registration numbers,series etc, isn’t it).

    Paid the fine today through ‘http://www.bangaloretrafficpolice.gov.in/’, just to ensure that my wife gets cleared about this.

    Though there is a office in M.G.Road to address wrong traffic violations, let know how this would be possible in this particular case (do I need to take my wife, the neighbors, my kid and assert that all were at home that Sunday and at that time?). This is not the proper way.

    Hope the higher authorities would check these and do the needful.

    Thanks to all
    Living with hope !!
    I remain,
    Sudarshan Vadyar

  6. I received a notice from Bengaluru Traffic stating that my Car KA 03 MD 3749 had violated Rule 17(1) RRR R/W 177 MV Act by passing through One Way / No Entry Zone at 16.10 Hrs. on December 01, 2011 at Hudson Circle, and asking me to pay a fine of Rs. 100/-. for the alleged offence.

    Since I was out of station , having gone to Coimbatore leaving the car at my residence at Kaggadasapura on the date and time of the alleged offence, and I am more concerned about the possibility of a fake number plate being in use (with criminal intent) than paying the fine, I thought I should bring the matter to the attention of the police. I went to Halasuru Gate Traffic Police Station and met Dr. Anil Kumar, the Inspector in-charge. Dr. Anil Kumar was kind enough to investigate immediately. His investigation showed that the noting of the number had been done not on camera, but manually by a traffic constable, who also failed to note down the colour of the vehicle.This also gives rise to the possibility of human error. (My car, a Ford Ikon Flair 1300 cc, is painted in “steel mist” shade. )

    While under the circumstance, I would expect a confirmation of the withdrawal of the Notice ( I would like to know whom I should write to for this, the mail I sent to the id (additionalcptraffic@gmail.com ) given by Dr. Anil Kumar having bounced, I would also request the police to investigate and see if any other car is going around with a fake number plate bearing the same number

    S.S.V.Raghavan

  7. Hi,

    I parked my vehicle in opposite road to HDFC bank Jp nagar branch. Of course, I knew (out of bad experience) that the right side is no parking zone and the left side for auto stand and parking zone. An officer was standing next to my vehicle saying that this area is meant only for autos and 4 wheelers and you have to pay Rs.100 for parking my 2 wheeler. I really don’t understand why don’t they have board as only 4 wheelers parking, or no 2 wheeler parking, something like that. I believe many of you like me might have similar bad eperiences around that area. I feel better now by venting it online. Thank you.

  8. i never been parnoid abt parking my bike in chennai and other places i lived in,but in bangalore i am always paranoid when it comes to parking my bike,i ask every single person wether the area is no parking zone or parking zone,then only i park,sometime i park in small streets and then walk from there to my destination

    i no longer enjoy driving my bike in bangalore,first traffic jams and now the paranoid of parking in no parking zone or driving in to a one entry road

    i want to know in which way one is notified that he/she jumped the signal after the bike number got noted down by traffic police ????

    kannada and english language shud co exist in bangalore,it bridges the communication btw the local people and the people from diff state and countries

  9. With respect to parking violations which seems to be the easiest ‘catch’ for the traffic police, why is it not possible for the police (as is the universal practice) to leave a ‘ticket’ behind? i have seen this in the past, a cop pasting a sticker on the windshield of a car…this would lay rest to the strong suspicion that the police note the number as they themselves whiz past…would also solve the motorist’s ‘memory’ problem..and more importantly when you see the sticker on your car you can look around to verify if there is indeed a “no parking signboard”.. while we do appreciate the police for their efforts in bringing order to the chaotic traffic it is also equally necessary for them to be fair and accountable..kudos to nayantara’s husband for his persistence…

  10. You are absolutely right in what you say about misuse of power, respect, courtesy and following the rules, M Ramachandran.
    It is also true that the police prefer to catch the ‘rich guys’ committing an offence and allow ‘poorer’ drivers to get away. The police force must be increased to keep up with the rising numbers of vehicles, fines must be increased and implemented for ALL offenders with technology. Otherwise resentment sets in when hundreds of people merrily violate rules that a few people are fined for.

    But you probably did not read my comment properly…we were in the right about our tickets, and had every right to blame the police. The police can be wrong and citizens can definitely challenge the fine if they have proof. Once we proved it, the police were amazingly co-operative in nabbing the culprit.

    The police do videotape offenders; that is what HELPED us. Still, I feel that they should not send traffic tickets to the owner of the photographed/videographed license number, without cross-checking the make of the car. We have a silver WagonR, and the car in the picture was a green Santro.

    The progreesively severe punishment you suggest needs to be very carefully implemented, otherwise, innocent people like me would be imprisoned or lose their license. As it is, it was humiliating to go to a police station seven times for violations I had not committed.

    It was scary to see that green Santro with our regn number, for a few hours we thought a terrorist or mafia had copied our number.

    Why did we keep paying? Do you honestly remember where you parked the car one month ago at a particular time? Or which signal you were at? The tickets posted to the owner’s address give some vague road names to roads that we know as this Cross and that Main.

  11. After almost 45 years of driving all over India and other countries like UAE,UK and Scandinavia, besides managing a plus hundred fleet of transport vehicles I learnt one thing for sure.”NO DRIVERS CONSCIOUSLY ADMIT THEY ARE WRONG”.After reading the five comments my beleif is strengthened.These comments helped to establish that even educated people who are suppose to know the traffic rules ignore or challenge the police when they are caughtred handed and later blame the Police.Besides having respect for the law, one must also learn to respect and show courtesy to fellow road users, be it pedestrains,push carts, cyclists, and other motorised vehicle users. Blaming the traffic police is easy. It also shows your so called “knowledge of power and fundamental rights”.Then the authorities or the Government should revise their policy of hiking the fine step by step when a road user challenges the police and after 3 steps, the next fine should be minimum imprisonment/confinement for 8 hrs.Video taping of the incident by an independent agency, and playing it back to the offender and inserting those clips during news time on TV repeatedly makes offender to be cautious next time.
    But the rot has set in the minds of the people and Police after the sudden surge of number of good quality vehciles with very poor unskilled drivers and I am not optimistic about our future as far as traffic sense is concerned

  12. I can’t fully agree with the Police Officer. Unless they have a visual proof of the offence it is really unrealistic that he is asking the vehicle owner to prove his Innocence. If this would have been the time of Harishchandra’s rule its a different case altogether. I agree that it is a tough tussle for these policemen to man the trafic. They should press their need for technical gadgets for trafic violation monitoring with the Government. They fight for unwarrented reasons and why the hell they can’t do the same for a right cause. They are just passing the bucks. Losers. They should make it a point that no offenders should escape but at the same time it should not be at the cost of innocent people. They have the ability but not the will as there are people among themselves along with the corrupt politicians who doesn’t want to offer right governance to people as they will be at loss in terms of Return On Their Investment. Sorry state of affairs……….

  13. This article and Nayantara Mallya’s response is very timely for me. I got a traffic ticket by mail for “Jumping Traffic Lights” in Mahalakshmi Layout on a day in April when I was not in Bangalore, traveling on holiday with my family. When I checked, I got a defensive response asking if I can prove that no one else was driving my car that day. The car was clearly locked and parked in our apartment basement that entire week. I hope that this case is the “two to three per cent error from his department’s side” and not a serious misuse of license plate number by someone else.

  14. In fact I was waiting for some police to question me when I had parked my vehicle on the no parking zone.I had all the documents ready and the d day came when the tiger came roaring to take my vehicle.I stopped him and requested the Inspector to come out for some clarifications which he did.My question was what would be toed away if parked in the no parking zone.He said all vehicles even if they stand for dropping supplies.I promptly showed him two fruit vendors and one chat vendor in the zone and told him to take away them also.Few people gathered around some speaking far and some against.My request was very simple either you take their Vehicle or leave mine also.Ultimately he left me murmurring something and the Vendors gathered and asked me why I was bothering about them as they pay regularly to the Police.Moral of the story was very clear if you pay you park.

  15. In my case, I was driving a friend’s bike for the 1st time in 4 years. Drove from Raheja Arcade in Koramangla and made a U-turn at forum signal to go back to NGV. WIth sun shining brightly in my eyes and not a regular driver, I missed seeing the “No U-Turn” sign. I was immediately signalled to stop for making illegal U-Turn. The officer took Rs.400/- from me and said that’s the fine for No U-Turn. I argued (out of instinct) that fine shouldn’t be so high. He didnt listen. I had to pay up and he printed a receipt which said “Dangerous Driving”. I argued with him and he said No U-Turn comes under Dangerous Driving. This is one of the CHEAT methods adopted by Traffic Police to EXTORT more money out of the Netizens. Two days later, I saw the sign near Forum (on other side) displaying Rs.100/- fine for No U-Turn. I went to Audugodi Traffic Police station to lodge a complaint but nobody would listen as I was supposed to know Kannada to make them understand the issue. Putting online complaint didn’t yield any response. I SALUTE THE CHEAT POLICE WHO STILL EXPECT RESPECT FROM PUBLIC.

  16. I’d urge everybody who thinks they are right to take the trouble to go check it out. Three years ago, we paid seven trafic tickets for no-parking and red light violations, all in the same area with road names we had never heard of. The police claimed video proof…stored in the MG Road Utility Building centre, so we kept paying.

    Finally I got a parking ticket for a road at a time when I am ALWAYS at home. I put my foot down, and my husband went to check it out. He found a car with the same registration plate as ours. He traced it (by roaming the area where the violations were concentrated) and guided the police to that spot.

    It was towed and the owner questioned and fined. He claimed one number (the RTO number) had been wrongly painted without his knowledge. We made the errant owner pay back all the fines to us, but not before his influential friends made threatening phone calls to us.

    The police also took all the credit for my husband’s investigative efforts, and he had to miss four days of work for all this nonsense.

    It was reported in several papers…here is the Hindu report.
    http://www.hindu.com/2006/10/15/stories/2006101519190300.htm

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