Yes. I had my license impounded. Again.
The previous time it happened I was glad. The fine seemed a small price to pay for having a parchi that certified me to drive in exchange for my dubious, expired, international license. This time, I was not so thrilled.
There were five cops standing at the turning and one of them figured I was on the phone and waved at me to stop. I did. (I wish I hadn’t seen him, then I could have driven safely away). But stop I did and the man turned up and started the usual cop conversation under such circs. (all the cop bits translated from Marathi / hindi and all of my bits translated from the hindi)
Cop: You have to pay a fine.
Me: Okay. How much?
Cop: You can’t pay it here because the saab with the bill book is not here.
Me: Okay. But where do I pay it
Cop: You have to go to the chowky. Actually you have to go to court.
Copy: I can’t gaurantee anything. In court it depends on the judge. He may suspend your license, decide on any sentence.
In the meanwhile a fatter cop walks up. (I am wondering if cop hierarchy is determined by level of gut hanging over the belt).
Fatter Cop: What happened?
Cop: Mobile phone offence. Writing chit.
Fatter Cop: Tch tch. don’t send for court. Ladies log. What will she do there. (turning to me) Madam you go to Ghatkopar chowkie under the bridge.
he then turns around and walks off. In short order the ‘parchi’ is in my hand, my license in his pocket and I’m on the road again.
Later, I read it in peace, start googling and discover the following.
http://trafficpolicemumbai.org/ is quite decent. Among other things, states the rather insane rule on mobile phone usage: ‘Phone must be swtched off when driver is at the wheel’ and confirms that no one less than a Sub-Inspector can accept a fine amount and issue a receipt for it. Also gives a list of the chowkies with no address or location information!
It is not upto the cop to decide whether you have to go to court. The rule says if you go within three working days to the chowky and pay the fine they have to give it to you. After three days you gotta go to court.
Also in the public interest… if you get stuck on the Eastern Express Highway betweeen Mulund and Kurla, the chowky you need to head towards is right under the flyover on the highway. Its opposite the turn-off to the Ghatkopar Bus Depot.