As a Mumbaikar, all that I see around me are shiny hoardings indicating the hefty fines now levied on the breaking of rules. I say shiny because they are new, for the ‘omnipresent’ “No Parking” signs are either damaged beyond repair or are simply ignored.
The general public seems offended by the number of digits that determine the penalty but at the same time praise developed countries like Dubai on its strict rules and regulations, along with their heavy fines.
In a state of conflict of opinions, Mumbai is now divided between the supporters of these fines and the protesters.
I overheard a conversation between two men the other day, stating how fines should be scaled according to one’s income.
At first thought, the idea seemed appealing and rather comforting, but is it feasible?
Updated Fines In Mumbai
The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2019 stated that the following change in the amount of fines is to be implemented post September 1st, 2019.
- The violation of road regulations wasn’t penalized earlier, but is now fined with Rs. 500
- Using public transport without a ticket was earlier fined with Rs. 200 but is now raised to Rs. 500
- The use of unauthorized vehicles without a license was earlier fined with Rs. 1,000 but now weighs at Rs. 5,000
- Driving without a license now costs you Rs. 5,000 while earlier it was Rs. 500
- Over speeding was earlier fined with Rs. 400 but now is ranged between Rs. 1,000-4,000, depending upon the vehicle type and weight
- People found under the light of drunken driving were fined with Rs. 2,000, but now it punishes the offender with imprisonment up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs. 10,000 for first offence and imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine of Rs. 15,000 for second offence.
The above are among many more fines that have been updated.
At first glance, the list made me want to give up the duty of driving.
For a lower or middle class family or below, such fines lead to what one calls, a hole in the pocket which majorly affects the functioning of one’s household.
Our government has introduced an ‘E-Challan’ app that updates you on your fines and adds interest on not paying for the same.
So Should Fines Be Defined Based on One’s Background?
There are pros and cons to such a condition. The pros are obvious; it lessens the burden of a mistake on the financially weak individuals.
The very purpose of fines is to teach one a lesson and not lead them to a financial crisis. Implementing such a rule would serve the purpose of instilling the necessity of following rules.
Though the idea seems feasible, it might have a completely different outcome. People might take this ‘privilege’ for granted.
Income is of two types, a formal one which is shown on paper (which includes ones salary, stipend, wages, etc) and an informal income (which refers to bribes, petty fines, etc).
If such a rule comes into existence, the government would regulate a person’s fine based on the formal income, they cannot take into account the informal income for it doesn’t exist on paper.
Thus, a person who may earn in crores through informal means and a few lakhs by formal means, will be judged according to lakhs; not crores.
The possibilities are endless. Taking such a step would bring the government into the positive light, but it would entice the criminal minds.
Moreover how will a traffic cop determine the income slab of the driver by just looking at him? No one carries their IT returns with them, for sure!
What do you think? Should such a privilege be implemented? Let us know in the comments below.
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