What to do when harassed by a Traffic Police Officer in India?
Team SoOLEGAL 28 Aug 2023

What to do when harassed by a Traffic Police Officer in India?

A police officer's job is to ensure that law and order are maintained in society. And they have the means, as well as sometimes coercive powers, to do so. The same holds true for traffic police officers. The primary responsibility of traffic police officers is to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and to deter any rule violations. However, there are times when you are pulled over and harassed by police for no apparent reason. In that case, it is critical to understand your rights and what you should do if you find yourself in a similar situation.

The Authority of a Traffic Police Officer

·       A traffic police officer has the authority to demand your driver's licence and inspect other required vehicle documents like a registration certificate, insurance certificate, valid PUC certificate, and fitness permit. It is necessary to carry the original documents and be able to produce them when asked. Failure to comply could result in a fine, arrest, and court proceedings.

·       If necessary, he or she may seize your driver's licence and other vehicle documents. A temporary acknowledgment receipt shall be issued by the police officer to the person surrendering the licence. The holder is authorized to drive until the licence is returned or until the date specified in the acknowledgment receipt.

·       If you are driving without your licence, permits and certificates, or if your vehicle is not registered, a police officer has the authority to seize and detain you.

·       A traffic police officer in uniform may arrest you without a warrant if you are found in his/her presence committing an offence such as driving dangerously or under the influence of alcohol, or using a vehicle without authority.

What should you do if you are pulled over?

·       When traffic police officers signal you to stop, you must do so and produce the documents requested by the officer; otherwise, you are breaking the law.

·       You may inquire as to why he has stopped you, but do not engage in an argument. If you believe you have a legitimate reason for breaking the rule, explain it to the officer.

·       If you made a mistake, explain it to the officer honestly and ask for repentance. If you approach him with courtesy, he may let you off with a warning.

·       Do not mention any police officers or influential people.

·       If a traffic police officer confiscates your driver's licence, you may add to the offence by paying a fine to the officer whose jurisdiction your licence was confiscated; otherwise, you will receive a court notice. If you fail to appear in court, an arrest warrant may be issued.

·       If the traffic police officer is an officer of a rank sub-inspector or above, you may compound the offense on the spot by paying a fine.

What should you do if you are pulled over and harassed by a traffic officer?

·       Never give in to a traffic police officer's illegal demands.

·       Allow him to impound your licence; don't try to bribe the officer.

·       Make a note of his buckle number/name, which will appear on the plate of his shirt. You may demand his identity card if he does not have one. Don't give him your documents if he can't produce his identity card.

·       You can approach the traffic police with a specific complaint detailing all the details of the incident, including information about the concerned police officer. This complaint should be sent via registered mail. 

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