“Fine” encounter with a traffic policeman

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Some weeks ago I was driving my red Omni car through the Richmond Town area, heading towards Domlur. I needed to turn right at Johnson Market-Hosur Road towards Austin Town. It was close to noon and traffic is often sparse at that time of day. The light was green and I followed the other moving vehicles. Suddenly, the traffic from the other side started moving. It was then apparent that the light had turned red for us and I had failed to stop.

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I managed to avoid the oncoming vehicles and complete the turn into the right lane, only to see the policeman’s waving arm. Oh dear! Now I will be fined! I stopped my car at the road side. The policeman came by and the conversation that followed, all in Kannada, went like this…

Policeman: Licence?

Me: (Opened my wallet and handed over the licence)

Policeman: So you are from this area (my licence has my Richmond Town address on it)

Me: Yes. I’m sorry about what happened.

Policeman: What is this… when there is a lot of traffic on the roads you people jump the lights… when there is no traffic also you are jumping the lights…

Me: Really sorry. I am usually very careful. I did not see the light change.

Policeman: I will have to fine you.

Me: Ok. How much?

Policeman: The charge is jumping the red light and reckless driving. Rs 500.

Me: But you know I was not driving recklessly.

Policeman: The charge is like that.

Me: Ok. I will pay then. (I was feeling terribly bad that I had to forgo Rs 500 but was comforted that I did have Rs 500 in my pocket)

Policeman: What would have happened if the oncoming traffic had hit you? You would have had to go to court… it is all so bothersome…

Me: Yes… I know…

Policeman: I feel bad to take Rs 500 from you. Also, you say that you are usually very careful… Pay Rs 300

Me: Ok… please give me a receipt.

Policeman: There is no charge for Rs 300… so I cannot give a receipt.

Me: You know… I am not in the habit of paying off policemen to get a lesser charge (in hindsight, I sounded as if I was a regular violator). You know I was not driving recklessly, but if you say I have to pay Rs 500 I will pay. Please give me a receipt.

Policeman: Rs 200 ok?

Me: Ok, Rs 200.

Policeman: For Rs 200 also you want a receipt?

Me: Yes.

Policeman: (Looked at me in despair. Returned my licence.) Never mind. Go and don’t do things like this again.

No bribe. Conscience clear. My Rs 500 saved!!


About Arathi Manay Yajaman 33 Articles
Arathi is a trustee of Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) and an active citizen.

1 Comment

  1. I also had a similar experience with a Policeman in Chennai for driving a vehicle with Temp Regn Board. From Rs 500, he came down to Rs 5 for tea. Now I wish I had not paid that Five rupees also.

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