If a challan remains unpaid for 15 days, the case is shifted to the court.
Once the case is shifted to the court, you will have to go to the court and pay the fine.
Non-payment might mean a notice from the court.
Also, you will not be able to sell your car if fines remain unpaid.
However, with the introduction of the graded fine system, the quantum of fine for an offence will be determined by the number of offences committed earlier. For example, if you have four citation cases pending against you, your next offence will be counted as your fifth offence. Earlier, each citation case drew a penalty of Rs 100. Now it will soon be Rs 100 for the first offence, Rs 250 for the second offence and Rs 300 for the third and every subsequent offence.
Kolkata Police switched to graded traffic offence fine collection from
June 1, 2015. After a traffic cop stops someone for a violation, he
would log in to the Kolkata Traffic Police website on his smartphone and
enter the vehicle's registration number and the section under which the
case will be registered to check the records. If found guilty of a
similar offence in the past three years, he/she would have to pay a
steeper fine depending on the number of repeated offences. Any traffic
rule violation ranging from jumping a traffic signal to hitting a
pedestrian that has happened in the last three years is in the police
records. For example, if found guilty of rash and negligent driving in
the past, he/she would have to pay Rs 800 for a second offence, Rs 1,200
for a third offence and Rs 1,600 for a fourth offence – instead of the
usual Rs 400 (fine for first offence) that one had to pay till May 31. A
spot fine can still be paid depending on the kind of offence. But here
too, the amount will vary depending on the number of earlier offences.
The system of paying the traffic fine online or depositing them at the
bank is still on. Even if one pays a spot fine, he/she is given a
receipt and the offence goes into the record books. So the next time a
sergeant keys in that particular vehicle number, the offence for which
the fine was paid would show up as the last one. If the sergeant does
not have a smartphone, he can call up the computerised records section
of his traffic guard and ask the operator to put in the vehicle number
and get the record of previous offences. For taxi refusal, taxis would
be treated like other vehicles and the three-year rule would be
applicable. Also, the cops would no longer seize the driver's licence.
Instead they will now write the car's permit number in the penalty
challan and in case a driver is unable to pay the spot fine, the permit
will be seized. The vehicle owner then has to get back the permit after
paying the penalty at the bank.
What do I do if the case is pending in court?
To know if any traffic-violation case relating to your vehicle is pending in court, you can visit any of the 25 traffic guard offices across the city and seek help to check their records.
Fines for cases pending with the court can be cleared at the court or through Lok Adalats held at the city civil court, usually once every two months, to address pending traffic violation cases.
The traffic police website as well as the Facebook page of Kolkata Traffic Police mentions the date of the next Lok Adalat.
What if I think I am being wrongly fined? Like say, 'I was out of town when this case was registered...'
You can visit the traffic department at Lalbazar to register a complaint seeking proof of the offence committed.
Cops may then refer to CCTV footage to verify whether the offence was actually committed.
They can also take into consideration an alibi that you might present.
How is a challan sent to me? And how soon after the offence will it reach me?
Challans are sent through courier service.
The police do not preserve the receipts because of the huge numbers.
Every citation case recorded on the road is updated with the traffic department at Lalbazar within 24 hours of the offence.
Usually, the challan leaves Lalbazar in the next couple of days and reaches you within a week.
Why can't I get an alert on my email about a traffic fine?
There is no such system in place now, but the proposal is apparently under consideration.
What if I commit an offence under another police commissionerate?
As of today, only the citation cases committed in the jurisdiction of Kolkata Police can be seen on the website.
According to the graded fine plan, Kolkata, Bidhannagar, Barrackpore and Howrah police will soon share traffic offence data online.
Once that happens, traffic offences in any of these four police districts can be tracked online.
A version of this was first published in The Telegraph, Kolkata on June 2, 2015
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