Auto driver hits passenger over fare, complaints filed

On July 31st, Seema (name changed) was attacked by the driver of the auto in which she was travelling. Seema’s fault was that she took a picture of the number plate of the auto so as to file a complaint against the overcharging driver. The incident occurred in front of Eva Mall in Brigade road.

In the Facebook page of Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP), Seema wrote that the driver had asked for Rs 60 to travel from Eva Mall to Austin Town, while the actual fare would be around Rs 20. The incident happened at 7 pm. Soon after, she called the traffic police’s helpline 25588555 that accepts complaints against auto drivers.

When Seema posted about the event on Facebook, BTP responded that it could take action only on the issue of overcharging, but not that of physical attack. For that, a separate case had to be filed with the local police station.

 A snap of the auto’s number plate posted by the victim on BTP’s Facebook page.

"I also contacted ACP (Traffic) M A Salim, who also gave the same response. I have not got any response yet to the complaint lodged," says Seema, a day after filing the complaint.

She has now filed a complaint at the Ashok Nagar police station. H S Jagadish, the Inspector here, says that only a complaint was filed and not the FIR, since the offence was non-congnisable. (Police lodges FIRs only for cognizable offences.) "Threatening or attempting to assault someone is a non-cognisable offence. If a person has been assaulted, it is treated as a cognisable offence," he says.

In this case, once the driver is tracked, he can be taken to court, and court will levy a fine. "The amount will be decided by the court, and we can let him go with a warning," says Jagadish. He says that the driver has not been tracked yet since the address as per the vehicle number led to the owner. "We will track the driver in couple of days."

M Manjunath, President of Adarsha Auto And Taxi Drivers Union, says that police stations should register all auto drivers under their jurisdiction, to track them in case of complaints. "In assault cases like these, we support passengers. The system of displaying driver details in autos was initiated to prevent such cases. But some 20% of auto drivers are goons who do not follow this rule. Traffic police can levy Rs 2500 as fine for this, but they have not been doing this."

He says that rogue drivers mainly hang around in crowded areas like Majestic, Shivaji Nagar, MG Road etc., and that the union has been speaking to the police about getting all drivers registered.

About Navya P K 243 Articles
Navya P K is a former senior staff journalist at Citizen Matters, and a freelance journalist based in Kerala.

2 Comments

  1. I experienced the similar incident today. Given below are the details:

    – Auto no.: KA05 C9607
    – At AECS layout (ITPL road), asked the auto person to take to spice garden (which should not be more than 2 kms I believe)
    – He asked for Rs.150. I was speechless
    – I told him, I want his auto no. and moved infront of the auto to take a pic (auto no.: KA05 C9607)
    – While I was clicking the pic, he tried to ride the rick on me!

    I was raging with fury and feel helpless!!

    I’m clueless, what to do? How do I go about making that fellow realize what wrong he did?

    Suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

  2. Having experienced a similar incident, I completely understand the frustration faced by this young woman. I also really admire her courage in following up and registering a case for this.

    Appreciate Navya’s effort in posting this socially relevant topic here.

    I happened to travel to Commercial Street from MG Road (opposite Bangalore Metro station). My parents, my wife and me got into an auto. This guy kept on marketing us the idea of shopping in a particular mall in Commercial Street, which we were not interested in. But it was highly irritating. He took a round way thinking he would convince us to get down at a specific shopping centre. But we wanted to go to the proper Commercial street area.
    It was obvious that he was getting a commission from that shop. He later on dropped us at Commercial street. When we got down, he demanded Rs70 (From MG road to Commercial street). I questioned him that, even if it is four passengers, he cannot charge more than Rs50. At this juncture, he started arguing and started shouting. I noted down his auto registration number (KA 05 AC 1264), which annoyed him more and he almost hit me.
    Another passerby individual was sensible enough to help to dissolve the scene and my father who is in 60s ended up paying Rs60 to just get out of that dirty scene.

    Advice to all fellow citizens would be that
    1)If ever you are hiring an auto in Bangalore, ensure to negotiate the rates before you get into the auto.
    2) Ask the distance specifically so that the guy don’t blatantly lie to you, as in this case (He said commercial street is 5km from MG road!).

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