THE decision by the central government to withdraw Rs 500 and 1,000 notes from circulation has hit the daily operation of traffic policemen and courts, who have to collect various kinds of fines and fees. While traffic policemen initially decided not to accept these notes, most courts granted litigants more time to pay their fines and bail bonds.
“After the announcement was made by the Prime Minister, we issued instructions to individual traffic divisions of the city not to accept notes of Rs 500 and 1,000. But it soon became clear that this was no easy task. We got calls from traffic policemen, saying they were facing difficulties in collecting fines from the defaulters. The fines generally range between Rs 200 and Rs 1,000,” said an official of the administrative branch of the city traffic police.
“Around noon, our staff spoke to the banks and they assured us that for a few days, some notes could be accepted. Then we issued instructions to traffic policemen to accept those notes from traffic rule violators, but only if they had no other options. Today, the overall amount collected in fines was less than the daily average.”
On how the courts are responding to the new rules, advocate Aba Shinde, president of the Pune Bar Association, said, “As per the directives, the courts were slated to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes while accepting various fines and fees. The Pune Lawyers’ Cooperative Society, which sells registry stamp and stamp papers, put up a board in the morning saying they will not accept these notes. The cooperative society doesn’t come under the purview of the government. This caused major inconvenience to the litigants.”
However, a senior lawyer said, “Several courts of the Judicial Magistrate First Class level found some kind of a middle ground and granted the litigants time to pay their fines. But in some of the courts, where cases involving house owners and tenants are taken up, the courts refused to accept the money in higher denominations.”
Defence canteens say no:
Several canteens of the Canteen Stores Department of the Ministry of Defence refused to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. A defence official said that though the non-acceptance of the notes caused inconvenience to some extent, authorities are sure that the situation would return to normal as soon as the new currency notes come into circulation.