A RAP from the Bombay High Court for not taking any action against vehicles abandoned on the roadside, prompted the traffic police to act against 699 such vehicles between October and December 2018. Of the 946 complaints received on its helpline, 247 turned out to be false. While police returned 507 vehicles to their owners, remaining 181 vehicles are with the traffic department and officials are yet to work on 11 more cases.
On September 21, 2018, a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Ajay Gadkari stated that an affidavit by Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic) Amitesh Kumar made a “mockery of the state of affairs”. The affidavit stated that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation was responsible for removing or towing away abandoned vehicles.
The high court stated that section 82 of the Maharashtra Police Act and section 222 of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Rules gave power to police or officers of the motor vehicles department to remove abandoned cars that were illegally parked.
The traffic department then issued a helpline number and email id for residents to lodge complaints and since has acted on 946 such complaints. Police have also towed away 71 vehicles that were later handed over to owners, while 436 vehicles were removed by owners after they found notices pasted on them.
“We don’t tow them immediately. We issue a 48-hour notice on the vehicle and if the car is still spotted abandoned at the same location, we take necessary action,” said additional commissioner of police (traffic) Veeresh Prabhu.
The vehicles still with police will be eventually auctioned. “We are in the process of auctioning vehicles. With the help of the Regional Transport Office, we are trying to locate the vehicles’ owners and will inquire with crime units if the vehicle is to be seized in any case. If it’s still unclaimed, then we will issue the vehicle’s details in a public notice, following which it shall be auctioned as the department is running out of space.”