Bombay HC tells traffic cops to change their image to earn respect
Mumbai, Dec 21: The traffic police in Mumbai need an "image make-over" so that they command more respect and motorists take them seriously, the Bombay High Court said on Thursday. The court suggested that the traffic department equip all constables with cameras and mobile vans, and seek the help of local police when needed.
"Many times you can see the traffic constable standing in a corner and chatting. Sometimes if he stops a motorist for a traffic norm violation, they (motorists) get into argument," said a division bench of justices Naresh Patil and N W Sambre.
Constables must conduct themselves in a way that their stature increases and they command respect, it said.
"You must equip the constables to deal with increasing violations. The department and its constables must also have an image make-over so that people respect them. Their word should be the final word," the bench said.
"If a constable stops a motorist saying he or she has committed some violation, then that should be the final word. No unnecessary arguments must follow," it said.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by traffic constable Sunil Toke, alleging rampant corruption in the department. The court has converted the petition into a public interest litigation. The court had directed the department to submit a progress report on the steps taken to curb corruption among its staff. The traffic department, in its reply, said while it was committed to transparency, a probe into Toke's allegations didn't reveal any irregularities. Today, the department's lawyer said it has already introduced cashless e-challan system to curb bribery.
Between August and December 20 this year, the traffic department received 109 complaints alleging corruption or irregularities on the part of its staff. While 12 of these complaints were found to be baseless, the rest were resolved appropriately, the department said. The high court directed the department to consider its suggestions and submit a reply by January 19.