I met with an incident recently (13th April 2008).
I was riding the bike from RT Nagar, I had to go over the Mekhri circle flyover to take a right from Hebbal road to turn towards IISC road. I turned right while the signal was changing from green to orange.I did not want to stop abruptly and since orange light is meant as a warning, I continued driving. If I had applied a sudden break, the auto right behind me may have hit me.
A police constable jumped in front of me from the side of the road asking me to stop. I stopped and took all my documents assuming he wanted to verify my documents.
He asked me to pay a fine saying I jumped the signal. On explaining that I did not jump the signal and when I crossed it was orange, he asked me questions like ‘Which country are you from?, Do you know the meaning of orange light? Are you an idiot?… You can show your intelligence in the court…’ and started behaving arrogantly.
I answered all his questions properly. I also pointed to him that he had been standing perpendicular to the signal light, he may not have noticed the signal.I said I was very confident that I had not jumped the signal. He threatened me saying I can show my intelligence in arguing the case in the court and he will book a case. He said he will try to put all evidence against me including the camera.
I said I was sure the camera evidence will prove that I was not at fault. He threatened me saying that my vehicle will be seized and will be released only after the case is resolved in the court. So I asked if it’s compulsory for my vehicle to be seized even if I am going to appear in the court for the case.
Instead of answering he started shouting and raising his hands and stepped closer. It looked like he was going to hit me. So I just paid the fine and left the place.
At the same time, while I was conversing with this police officer, his colleague, a police constable, tried to jump in front of another auto. The auto driver applied a sudden break. A bike which was closely following this auto hit the auto. The bike driver and his wife on the pillion fell down and got injured.
Now I’d like to ask readers:
1. Are police officers authorized to seize the vehicle in such situations?
2. Under what conditions can a police officer seize the vehicle?
3. How does one handle such cases when the citizen is strong and does not hesitate to go the court, but want to avoid the inconvenience of his vehicle getting seized until court case is resolved and bike returned back to the citizen?