I lodged a complaint against a traffic police today and for my own records as well for visibility of others like me who are harassed by cops, I thought it better to get the same complaint put up here as well.
Just about a couple of hours before this incident happened, I recall seeing a hoarding on the way saying out loud about non corruption in the state of Karnataka. Laudable! That this can be the situation as a long-term plan but for now, it’s just a joke. And I happened to have the first hand experience of it in no time after seeing the hoarding. Kiss my luck. I was so infuriated even though it was a small thing which we can easily say “it’s ok! let it go”. I have been seeing this happen again and again to me and many other people who I know. I am sure most others also have been through a similar fate but passed out of it “phewing” it off as “escaped!”.
Corruption! Sad that it gets you involved even if you are not willing to. I will still laugh at that hoarding as long as I keep on seeing it. They say “nothing’s gonna change”, “it has been like this, it will be like this”, “you can’t do anything”. Well, I am trying to do the least and let me see if the cops accuse me back of false complaints and charge me with even a bigger offense. To go with, I thought I will try out the public grievance system and use the power of internet. Good thing in here is that the people in the administration who actually are serious about removing all levels of corruption has an online version of registering complaints. And I am going to find out if it actually works or not. Bangalore traffic police runs their website wherein anyone can lodge a complaint or provide suggestions. The complaint I lodged in this link is as follows –
This is a complaint against one of the traffic police in the traffic signal between Victoria Road and HAL Airport Road. I didn’t get his name for the records though. He charged me Rs 300/- against a traffic violation of Jumping Traffic Signal today 4th Aug 2010 around 6:30 PM. I said ok and demanded the challan. He immediately said ok give Rs 100/- and after giving him the amount, again I demanded the challan because I would rather pay the government for a fine than bribe a cop to get away with it. He kept the Rs 100/- and when I still insisted for the challan acknowledging receipt of the fine, he blindly objected and started abusing in Kannada. He spoke to me in English first and then turned the tone and language of conversation into Kannada for what? Because I am an outsider? I don’t have to throw light on what is the impression of the typical policeman in the eyes of the public – amongst the few good men are these abusive, bribe taking, non moralistic guys. Well who cares about morality now-a-days anyway! I could make out that he was saying me to go learn Kannada first and then demand challan or anything and was also saying you want challan you will have to pay Rs 300/-, you go to court and pay the fine there.
Even though I was not sure if I had actually jumped the signal, I was polite enough to pay the fine, but the policeman just pocketed the money. I insisted on the challan over which he threatened me by asking a higher fine amount and saying about going to court for that. On asking about why he was saying Rs 300/- first and then came down to Rs 100/-, he said if its Rs 300/- he will charge me with a case of Dangerous Driving. Now that was surprising. Just for a bribe of 100 bucks, this guy was threatening about going to court and pay the 300 bucks there if I want. He was letting me choose. Moreover, I was riding at a speed of about 40 to 45 kmph at that turning and also due to few other 2 and 4 wheelers in that signal. So his saying about ‘Dangerous Driving’ is totally out of question here.
How does one make a distinction between Dangerous Driving and Jumping the Signal? Is the traffic policeman here at his own discretion to say Dangerous Driving if the accused doesn’t pay him the ‘bribe’? A common man like me cannot do much but just walk away because then, he can again charge me with any other serious offense and make me liable to pay for more than just Rs 100/-.
It’s not about the amount of 100 bucks I was charged with but its about the moral attitude of the traffic police. And this is the third time that this has happened to me.
After submitting the complaint, I got a BIG note saying “Thank You, We will get back to you soon”. Having a tryst with government websites earlier, I am not sure if this will work out, but its a wait and watch game now.