Stopped By Traffic Police? Know Your Rights

Updated: May 22

Picture credits: India Today

You must have been stopped by a traffic police at least once if you own a two-wheeler or four-wheeler in India. This might be due to a traffic violation or a regular check by a police officer, during which you were required to present vehicle registration documents and your driver's license.

Are you aware of your rights in such circumstances? It is fundamental for every commuter to understand his or her rights when stopped by a police officer.

Many Indians have had their encounters with police at a traffic signal on a frequent basis. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that many individuals are unconcerned about traffic regulations and are accustomed to disregarding them. People frequently overtake others, drive their automobiles like race cars, and injure others as well as themselves. As a result, if someone violates a traffic law, traffic police are on the lookout for you and will penalize you for your carelessness.

Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with this, but the issue arises when a police officer calls for a bribe or uses force against someone who is facing a penalty enhancement under Section 179 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. The majority of the time, people desire to avoid legal action by paying the bribe amount.

BUT IT IS A KIND REQUEST don’t do this. So, let's start with the Traffic Violation Rules so that you'll be prepared to cope with circumstances where you've been stopped by a traffic police officer.

Rights of a Commuter In India

Lets first see as to what rights can exercise when stopped by a traffic police officer:

  1. To charge a penalty to commuters, traffic police in India must have a challan book or an e-challan machine. No traffic policeman can charge a penalty without having either the challan book or the e-challan machine

  2. Your car cannot be seized or arrested by a traffic cop. However, a traffic constable can confiscate your license if you commit traffic violations such as overloading, transporting passengers in a carrier vehicle, jumping red lights, using phone while driving, drink and drive, or driving too fast.

  3. If you are seated in your vehicle, traffic police have no authority to tow it away. They can only pull the car away after you have left.

  4. A Head Constable cannot prosecute for dangerous driving (fine 1,000 Rs.), use of mobile phone while driving (fine 1,000 Rs.), disobeying the lawful direction of a police officer (fine Rs. 500), over speeding (fine Rs. 400) and driving without insurance (fine Rs. 1,000).

  5. It is not in the power of a Head Constable to prosecute commercial vehicles. He can't stop it, and he can't charge a commercial vehicle. The only thing he can do if he discovers an infringement, is fill out a violation form and alert the branch without halting the car.

  6. It is the role of the RTO, not the traffic officer, to ask for your pollution paperwork. Also, He is also not authorized to remove your vehicle's keys.

  7. You will be brought to the police station if you have broken traffic regulations and have been arrested. You must be taken to the magistrate within 24 hours if you are detained.

  8. When a police officer asks for your vehicle documents, you simply need to provide your driver's license at that time, as per Section 130 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The decision to hand up the remaining papers is entirely up to you.

  9. If the police officer decides to take your license, make sure you are given a proper receipt issued by the Traffic Police Department against your license.

What all things you need to check if a Challan is given?

One you pay the challan, see the following information on the slip:

  • Name and address of the court where you will undergo a trial

  • Details of the offence

  • Date of trial

  • Details of the vehicle

  • Your name and address

  • The name and signature of the police officer

  • Details of documents that have been retained by the police.

What all documents you need to present if stopped by traffic police ?

If traffic police stops you anywhere, he or she may ask for your license, although decision of handing up the remaining papers is entirely on you however it is best to keep all of your paperwork in your car. In addition, you must retain original copies of all documentation in your vehicle. The following is a list of documentation you should keep in your vehicle whatsoever: