Police tighten the noose on wrong-side drivers

Mubarak Ansari
Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Register 633 cases in 20 days for wrong-side driving

Pune: In a major crackdown, the Pune city police have started registering criminal cases under section 279 (rash driving) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against people driving their vehicles on the wrong side of the road. If convicted under the section, a driver can be fined Rs 1,000 or imprisoned for up to six months or both.
 
As per the records of the Traffic Branch, last year there were 642 cases registered under section 279 of IPC for wrong-side driving, but this year in just 20 days (till January 20), 633 cases have been registered. Most of the incidents took place in Shivajinagar, Vimantal (Viman Nagar areas), Dattawadi, Koregaon Park, Hadapsar, Wanowrie and Chatuhshrungi traffic divisions. 

This year in just 18 days, a total of 1.36 lakh helmetless riders have already been penalised by the police. 

The police officials said earlier people were charged Rs 200 under the Motor Vehicle Act for wrong-side driving. A total of 60,334 persons were fined under this law in 2018. However, since January this year, the Pune police have started a drive against this menace by filing FIRs against those driving on the wrong side of the road.
 
A police inspector told Sakal Times, “People are not realising it now but they will face problems during police verifications for jobs and passport as their records are being created. Also, under IPC section 279 cases, the person has to make rounds of the court and if convicted, he gets imprisonment up to six months.”

Another officer added, “In most cases, we are filing charge sheet within a few hours to few days. Many people have been convicted.”

In most cases, traffic police personnel are lodging complaints with the local police station. In some cases, the local police station staff themselves are catching such drivers and filing the cases. 

When contacted, DCP (Traffic) Tejaswi Satpute said, “We appeal to people to follow traffic rules properly and avoid driving on the wrong side to prevent mishaps. We are registering FIRs for offences under Section 279 of IPC against those driving on the wrong side.”

What is Section 279 of IPC? 
The Section 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) states, “Whoever drives any vehicle, or rides, on any public way in a manner so rash or negligent as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs 1,000, or with both.”

53 wrong side spots identified
DCP (Traffic) Tejaswi Satpute said that a total of 53 spots have been identified where most of the wrong driving happened and about 40 of them have been rectified. “In some cases, we closed punctures on the dividers, while at some places we have created lanes as people had no other options of going than the shortcuts,” she said.

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