In a attempt to persuade traffic violators with pending fines to pay their dues, Pune City Police has started compiling a database of violators and linked it to passport verification process. Within four days of implementation, the city police has identified as many as 92 passport applications from candidates who are also traffic fine defaulters.
These 92 passport applications are reported to be on hold during police verification process. Ashok Morale, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch) stated that the police may send a negative report about these applications to passport office which will then take the final call.
This move is inline with an earlier announcement made by Pune City Police Commissioner K Venkatesham. The statement issued by Pune Police on August 26th revealed that the database links traffic violators with passport department and character certification department. More red flags in passport verification process due to unpaid traffic fines are expected to be identified in the coming days.
Talking to Times of India, a traffic police official has said that there are thousands of violators who have not bothered to pay traffic fines ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 1,200 despite the police department’s issuance of e-challans, repeated requests, and launch of special fine recovery drive. Now, thanks to the new database, passport applications of traffic fine defaulters will be put on hold even if the local police station sends a positive verification report. Thus, such a candidate will not receive his/her passport unless the pending fines are paid.
The police official also added that once the candidate pays the pending fine, the police department will send an independent report to Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO) notifying that the violator has cleared the dues under the Motor Vehicle Act and there is no objection if a passport is issued. The FRO will send a report to the passport office regarding the same.
Officials at the Regional Paspsort Office in Pune told TOI that they would decide on applications that are on hold only after studying the verification report sent by city police. While this initiative may seem like a harsh move to some, it has the potential to force the violators to pay up the dues and make motorists in general to obey traffic rules. Kudos to Pune City Police! We hope other cities follow suit at once.