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The Unfortunate State of the ‘Common Man’

On a Friday afternoon, a friend of mine and I were sitting at Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), Chowpatty. A little later, we realised that her Scooty had disappeared. We asked the boys, who works at the cafe about it, and he told us that there is a ‘No Parking’ Sign here, while the other said that the parking spot is only for four wheelers and not two wheelers.  At the place, where the scooty was parked there was no mark by the towing guys (chalk mark that is generally drawn), hence suspecting them to take it away was out. We walked a little ahead hoping to find the scooty parked around, somehow. Two policemen were standing near New Yorkers, a famous eating joint at Chowpatty. We went to them and informed them about the incident. They asked us to go to a traffic police man standing nearby, as a towing truck had passed from there a few minutes ago and picked up a few cars. They also told us to ask him for the Nana Chowk tow station number, so we can call them and ask if the scooty is there. When we asked the Traffic Police man, he said, “I don’t have the number,” and asked us to go to Nana Chowk and check.

When we reached Nana Chowk, we found the scooty, among the many vehicle parked. We tell the man sitting at the counter (where one has to pay for the towed vehicle or fine along with two other men), about the vehicle that was towed. He asks us to pay Rs. 200, (Rs. 100 for the fine and Rs. 100 for the Towing charge). As per the Mumbai Traffic Police website, the fine should Rs. 100 for a two-wheeler. We questioned them about this and they chose to ignore it. When we refused to pay more than Rs. 100, they said that won’t do and we have to pay the amount told by them. In order to get a clarification, we asked them why was our vehicle towed and not the other four-wheelers and two-wheelers that were parked at the ‘No Parking’ area (offence- 15(2) RRR 177 MVA) and pavement (offence- 15(2)(ii)RRR 177 MVA) respectively, they responded by saying that, our vehicle was parked at a cab stand, which was not the truth. We had parked it at a ‘No Parking’ area (not that we are proud of that). We also questioned them as to why wasn’t any mark put around the area so that we would know that our vehicle was towed, which is generally done, they ignored the question and stayed mum.

They prepared the receipt and gave it to us. When we said we would pay Rs.100 and not Rs. 200 and pointed out at their mistakes, they replied by saying, “Don’t take away your vehicle” and tried to snatch the receipt from us. When we refused to give it, as we wanted them to answer our question first, they started talking in a high tone, said, “HUD!!” and snatched the receipt. They also told us to go to the court.

My friend was taken aback and scared by the way they spoke and paid them the amount and took her vehicle. But the ill treatment we suffered, for just asking questions like ‘why did you tow our vehicle and not the others?’, ‘why wasn’t there a mark with the chalk, so that we would know that the vehicle has been towed?’ and ‘is parking on the footpath allowed?’

Their behaviour came as a shock to us.

As per the Mumbai Traffic Police Offences, parking at a bus stop and pavement is illegal, yet many vehicles are parked there and are not towed. But most vehicles are towed and are fined for ‘parking at cab stands’. Traffic Policemen do not have numbers of stations, hard to believe.  So this incident taught me that parking at bus stops, pavements, alongside another vehicle is acceptable (as per the Mumbai Traffic Police headquarters penalties, it is an offence), the fine put up on the Mumbai Traffic Police website(which was last updated in January) is wrong (as the price is different when we have to pay) and the ‘common man’ does not have a say or the right to get a clarification.

Parking Offences

Nature of Offence

Legal Provision

Penalty (Rs)

Parking in flow of traffic

22(a) RRR
177 MVA


Parking away from footpath

15(2) RRR
177 MVA


Parking against flow of traffic

15(2) RRR
177 MVA


Obstruction by parking

15(2) RRR
177 MVA


Parking on taxi stand

15(2) RRR
177 MVA


Parking in not prescribed manner

15(1) RRR
177 MVA


Parking at corner

15(i) RRR
177 MVA


Parking within 15 meters on either side of bus stop

15(2) RRR
177 MVA


Parking on bridge

15(2) (i) RRR
177 MVA


Parked at traffic island

15(i) RRR
177 MVA


Parked in No Parking area

15(2) RRR
177 MVA


Parked on pedestrian crossing

15(2)(iii) RRR
177 MVA


Parked on footpath

15(2)(ii) RRR
177 MVA


Parked in front of gate

15(2)(viii) RRR
177 MVA


Causing obstruction to traffic by parking

15(1) RRR
177 MVA


RRR = Rules of Road Regulations 1989
MVA = Motor Vehicles Act 1988


Sr. No




Two Wheeler



Car , Jeep, Taxi, Auto Richshaw









I’ve been in Bombay since two years. I’ve formed a lovely group of friends and now I am dying to go clubbing. But I am petrified! Why? The Bombay police.

The police have become the hooligans in Bombay. They use the BOMBAY POLICE ACT (1951) to extract money from and torment the people of Bombay.

On Saturday night, (21st July 2012) a girl and her brother were thrashed for arguing on the road. The girl (26) a lawyer, her brother and their two male friends were celebrating the girl’s birthday at a Lower Parel restaurant. They were returning home, when they stopped the car outside a housing society near Ruparel College to drop a friend when trouble started. The girl and her brother were having a minor argument when a police vehicle stopped near their car. The cops in plain clothes questioned them. The group showed them their liquor permits and asked the cops for their badges. This is when the cops flew into a rage. They abused the youngsters and thrashed the girl and her brother. The police taunted the group on their drunken state, commented on the girl’s clothes, but when she protested Sub Inspector D R Bane slapped her. The slap damaged her left ear and eye and gave a cut on her lip. The group was then shoved into the police vehicle. The cops clicked the girl’s pictures on their cell phones at the police station, when she protested, she was slapped again. A friend of mine was standing outside our hostel with her boyfriend at 5 am in the morning. She was waiting for the gates to open. Suddenly the plain clothed cops arrived and questioned her in a manner that made her feel like a slutt. Why are the Bombay police being so bad to the youth?

The group at Ruparel College were booked under section 110 of the Bombay police act. The act says,” no person shall willfully or indecently expose his person ill any street or public place, whether from any house or building or not use any indecent language or behave indecently or riotously or in a disorderly manner in a street or place of public resort or in any office station or station house.”

Firstly this act is replete with provisions from the pre- independence Indian police act. It allows tremendous independence to police officers, constables to decide what is offensive language or behaviour. This freedom, of random interpretation of the term “indecent”, has led to use of the law to harass citizens.

Secondly it involves less paperwork and no registration of the first information report, which is precisely why cops prefer this act over the others to book people, as they can get away easily. Legal experts rightly point out that the act is subjective and needs to be updated.

Talking about the21st July incident, I really wonder what was indecent in the group’s behaviour. There is no mention of use of foul language in the duo’s argument. When asked the reason of the arrest, the police said, “Look at the situation, a young woman, three men, all drunk. They were drunk and arguing on the road, isn’t that indecent?

So what if a girl was young and was with three men?  How is that indecent? Even if they were drunk they had their permits. They were arguing and not smooching. What was the reason to round them up? If the police thought it to be indecent, they could have just shut them up, driven them away from the spot and ended the matter.  There was absolutely no reason to raise a hand on them.

A senior counsel when asked to opine on the matter said, “The police could have doubted whether they were actually brother and sister. But whatever their misgivings, such use of force is unwarranted”. My point is that even if the “brother” was the boyfriend of the woman, there is absolutely nothing questionable about it. Women cannot be escorted by their fathers (or brothers) everywhere.

According to me the police officers involved should be booked for indecency towards the woman and physical assault against her and her brother. Thankfully, the minister of state for home, Satej Patil has asked for a review into the act. I strongly feel the Bombay police act must be relooked into and reformed immediately. It must be transformed into an objective act with precise rules and definitions, for the fair treatment and protection of young citizens.





Justice delayed is justice denied

Millions of civil cases have been pending over decades across the country now. Most of these cases are at the level of the High Court and Supreme Court. ‘File a case at the trial court level, and you will be over and done with it in about 3 or 4 years,’ said a family friend, who is a lawyer himself. ‘But once you approach the higher courts, justice becomes long, tedious and delayed. That’s where the trouble begins,’ he added.

The Bombay Civil Court is flooded with as many as about 362,949 cases dated from decades ago. Most of these cases are related to encroachment, division of property, breach of contract, compensation etc. My father, over tea, was telling me about the case he, along with his elder brother, has been fighting for almost 60 years now. ‘It is an extremely simple case; justice clearly needs to be ruled in our favor. But we have been running around with this encroachment matter since 1954,’ he told me. ‘Never approach the court unless it’s absolutely necessary! All this running around for justice is an absolute waste of time and money,’ he added; which was absolutely shocking. It was situation where my father had almost lost faith in the judiciary of our country. If that is what we have to say about the body that is meant to provide justice, it is an extremely sad state of affairs.

Lack of proper infrastructure is one major reason for this delay. The Bombay High Court has just the same number of staff it had 30-40 years ago. The population explosion in our city has just not been taken into consideration. 40 years ago, the Bombay High Court had 40 years. The number is still the same. The ratio of the number of cases to the number of judges is constantly growing. In addition to that, when a judgment is passed at the trial court level, there are chances that either of the parties are not satisfied with the outcome.  In such a situation, the Constitution gives whoever is unsatisfied with the outcome of the case a chance to appeal to the higher courts. When the case is transferred to a higher court, the numbers of cases in the higher courts get saturated and this slows the process down.

The Constitutional right of allowing dissatisfied parties to appeal to higher courts cannot be taken away from them. In our country, the Constitution is considered to be supreme, and curbing of rights is not an option at all. But at the same time it is a matter that must be looked into immediately. The only way this problem can be solved is by improving the infrastructure of our judiciary. More man power needs to be diverted to the judicial system. We need more judges and more court staff in order to speed up our judicial proceedings.

It’s time we open our eyes. Before it gets too late and before people start losing faith in our system, just like my father did, we need to mend our ways and make them more people friendly.


-Shruti Shenoy

Talli before 25. Really?

Niharika Pandit questions the Bombay Prohibition Act 1949 governing alcohol consumption in the city.

Drinking age in the maximum city happens to be the highest in the world. Much worse, no individual in Wardha, Maharashtra can legally drink before the age of thirty.

It was in June 2011, when Maharashtra government was vehement to change the laws regulating booze intake. Amidst a number of scams scathing the city, the state chose to raise the bar of legal drinking age from 21 years to 25 years of age. A major dissent had then sprung up among Mumbaikars.

“This would be a good time to point out that by the age of 25, you could have voted the Maharashtra government seven times over, and been married four years — which, as most married folk will testify, is as good a reason for needing a martini or 14,” said comedian Rohan Joshi, in an interview to

Recently, city residents seem disgruntled by the unexpected raids on bars and pubs across Mumbai. Constables of the Social Service department of Mumbai police led by ACP Vasant Dhoble are all over the place; pubs, restaurants, spas.

It all started with Café Zoe, on Friday night on grounds that the restaurant was playing music without a proper performance license and that the establishment had violated the Bombay Police Act 1960 rule that specified only 166 people per 1000 square feet in a restaurant.

And then followed a spate of raids in several popular zones in the city.

Youngsters in the city seem to be affected the most by these constant raids. It is not only about disruption in their ‘night-life’ but college-going students are paranoid about not abiding by the state liquor law which legalises alcohol consumption only after the age of 25. Till now, the ‘archaic’ law was sporadic and least talked about. But this flurry of raids seems to have instilled a deep sense of fear among youngsters.

Smriti Parikh (18) a second-year student feels that the liquor law needs to changed. “We are allowed to vote at the age of 18. Females can get married at 18. Then why are we not allowed to consume alcohol which is completely normal?” she says. Another student Richa Gidwani (19) believes “The moment we turn 18, we’re classified as adults. They why are we not allowed to drink? Moreover, alcohol consumption is a matter of choice and the state should not intervene.”

Many adults also believe that frequent raids have now hampered them from visiting bars as there is a constant sense of fear of the place being raided. Aadhya Kaul (19) has to think twice before going out and partying with friends as one of the very famous bars in South Mumbai asks for a proof of age.

Furthermore, the law also states that ‘an individual must consume an intoxicant or hemp for bona fide medicinal, scientific, industrial or educational purposes.’

Surendra Chaplot (24) a city based entrepreneur says “We talk about curbing corruption yet we have to sign a fake document stating the ‘reason’ of alcohol consumption. And the government seems to raise no questions over it.”

Alcohol types Legal Age
Wine No limit
Beer Above 21 years
Heavy alcohol Above 25 years

Several protests have been organised time and again. Actors like Imran Khan have stood up terming the liquor law as an obliteration of constitutional rights. But the question still persists. Is the ‘mutiny’ on Facebook and Twitter enough to make the government amend this law? Or it is time to lobby and make the law-makers realise that youngsters no longer need to be handled and are capable of making an informed decision?

Isn’t it time to practice to what the youngsters preach? The choice is all yours.


Google image-

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act

Street people’s attitude towards (free) education.

Every day when I pass by the streets of Mumbai, I get goose-bumps when I see small, young children living on streets and begging for food and money. Their entire day is spent requesting people to help them. Often, they fail to convince people to help them. I wonder why these street children don’t go to schools and get them educated. According to me, education will definitely help them to come out of this horrific world of begging and living on streets.

On Sunday, around 11am, I went to interview street children at Charni Road, Mumbai. I wanted to figure out the reason why don’t they go to schools. Also, I wanted to know whether they are aware about ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.’

The first street family I interviewed was ‘The Kharwa family.’ I approached Mrs. Manju Naresh Kharwa, a mother of four children.

Me: Kya aapke bacche school jaate hain?

She: Haan, mera bada beta aur choti beti school jaate hain.

Me:  School ka naam kya hain?

She: Marwari Vidyalaya High School.

Me: Kaha par hain yeh school?

She: Yahi paas mein hain, Opera House.

Me: Angrezi medium hain?

She: Nahi, Gujarati medium hain.

Me: English medium mein kyu nahi bheja apne baccho ko?

She: Woh log bahut zyaada fees maangte hain.

Me: Apne kaunse English medium school mein try kiya?

She: Kahin pe bhi nahi.

Me: Toh fir aap kaise keh sakte hain ki woh log bahut zyaada fees maangte hain?

She: Hume sab pata hain.

Me: Acha, toh yeh batayeh ki abhi jaha aapke bacche school jaate hain, kya unhone  aapse fees mangi?

She: Haan, Rs 540 maang rahe hain.

Me: Aapka bada bete aur choti beti kaun si kaksha mein hain?

She: Sandhya pehli kaksa (1st standard) aur Rohit teesri kaksa (3rd standard) mein hain.

Me: Kya aapko pata hain ki pehli kaksa (1st standard) se lekar aathwi kaksha (8th standard) tak bacchco ko muft (free) mein padate hain?

She: Nahi, hume aisa kuch pata nahi hain lekin pehle jab meri beti Sandhya school jati thi tab woh log use muft mein padate the. Lekin jab woh ek mahine (1 month) ke liye school nahi gayi, tab se woh humse fees maang rahe hain.

Me: Accha! Pehle muft mein padate the Sandhya ko? Woh school kyu nahi gayi ek mahine ke liye?

She: Haan, pehle muft mein padate the. Woh school nahi gayi ek mahiney ke liye kyuki woh bimaar thi.

Me: Ab school jaati hain?

She: Nahi jaati hain kyuki woh humse fees maang rehe hain.

Me: Aur kya apka beta Rohit school jata hain?

She: Haan woh roz school jaata hain, lekin uske liye bhi fees maang rahe hain.

Me: Kyu?

She: Pata nahi.

Me: Toh kya aapne paise diye?

She: Nahi, humare paas paise kaha hain.

Me: Apke pati kya karte hain?

She: Woh saala pura din daru pikar sohta rahta hain. Kuch kaam nahi karta hain. Kuch bolo toh marta hain.

Me: Toh phir aapke paas paise kaha se aate hain khaane ke liye?

She: Mein kamati hoon. Mein phul (flowers) bejti (sell) hoon. Woh saare paise khaane mein aur uss harami ke daaru mein chale jaate hain.

Me: Ab jab apko maine bataya ke, pheli kaksa se lekar aathwi kaksa tak ke sab bacho ko muft mein padane ka act hain, kya aap unke school jaakar school authority se baat karengi, apni beti Sandhyaaur Rohit ko muft mein padane ke liye ?

She: Hum toh there unpaad (illiterate). Hum kya karenge waha jaa kar?

Me: Koshish karenge aap

She: Na-baba-na. Jane do.

With this our conversation ended. I thanked her for her precious time. I left in search for another street family. One my way, I kept thinking about Mrs. Manju’s attitude towards education. I feel like it is ‘them’ (street people) who don’t want their children to get educated. When the school was providing them free education, her child Sandhya did not attend school. And, now when she wants to go to school, the school authorities are asking for fees. Who is too be blamed for this – The child or the school authorities? I have no answer to it.

Walking few miles ahead, I noticed another street family. I approached them. Mrs. Jyoti Prakash, mother of three children.

Me: Kya aapke bacche school jata hain?

She: Nahi jaate hain.

Me: Kyu?

She: Hum har dusre mahine (alternative month) Ahmadabad jaate hain?

Me: Kyu?

She: Woh hamara goan (village) hain?

Me: Kya aapke bacche waha (Ahmadabad) mein padte hain?

She: Meri badi beti Laxmi, joh che (6) saal ki hain, woh school jaati hain.

Me: Kaunse school mein jaate hain?

She: Mein unpaad hoon (illiterate). Mujhe school ka naam nahi pata.

Me: Kya aap abhi apki beti se school ka naam pooch kar mujhe bata sakti hain?

She: Nahi. Woh soh (sleep) rahi hain.

Me: Kya aap waha par fees bharte ho?

She: Nahi. Woh log muft mein padate hain.

Me: Accha! Yeh bataiey aap har dusre mahiney (every alternative month) Ahmadabad jaate ho, toh wahi kyu nahi rukh  jaate? Isse aapke bacche ki padai adhri nahi rahegi.

She: Hume ek jagah par acha nahi lagta. Padai ka kya hain. Hum bhi toh padhe nahi hain, phir bhi do waqt ki roti kamate hain.

Me: Agar aapke bacche padenge toh chaar paise aur kaamange. Usse aapko bhi fyda (profit) hoga.

She:  Hume pata hain humare liya kya acha hain, Aap hume nah bataiye.

With this our conversation ended. I returned home. On my way, I kept thinking about Mrs. Jyoti’s attitude towards education. Despite, the school providing free education to her child, she didn’t want her child to go to school. Why didn’t she want her child to go to school? Was this because she was uneducated? I have no answer to it. I tried telling her that education is important and she must allow her child to get educated but she seemed to ignore my words.

Often we hear people blaming the government institutions for not following a particular act which is implemented by the government. But here, the scenario seemed to be different. The education institutions are providing free education to all children irrespective to their gender, caste and class but it is ‘the street people’ who don’t want a change. They are happy to be poor. Later, people (elite and poor) blame the government for not taking any initiative to make the country a better place to live in.

T.Y.BMM- Ruchi Nandu 




Drinking’ is a term which can be used by common people in different ways i.e. drinking water, drinking medicines, drinking alcohol. Each word that is associated with drinking has an issue attached to itself and these issues can easily be identified to one of the well-known city ‘Mumbai’ in which we live. The Maharashtra state government sets up different laws to each of these Mumbai issues.

This government has also taken up the initiative to set up a law which helps in providing a permit or denial to youngsters to drink alcohol. The Maharashtra State Government raised up the age of consuming alcohol recently. According to this law, a person can consume beer only when one has crossed the age of 21 years and not 18years instead. If anyone needs to have heavy alcohol, he or she needs to be 25years and above. Getting a drinking permit in hand is the second initiative that each youth should undertake after taking one’s age into consideration. In order to get such permit licence, one can either pay Rs.50 per day or Rs.1000 for life-long drinking permit.

According to the law, after the permit is granted to a person, only 12 units of alcohol can be consumed and not exceed the limits. This law also sets a background that if anyone is found drunk without any permit, will be fined Rs.50, 000 or sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment or both of these in extreme cases. This law brings up certain questions that remain unanswered according to me.

If the state considers one who is 18 years as mature to vote, then it should also agree that 18 years is a mature age to drink. Why does the age of maturity change when it comes to the context of consumption of alcohol? The youths many a times are confused regarding the age of maturity when it comes to voting on one side and consuming alcohol on the other side. This in fact may lead to disobedience of this law due to improper approval of the age of maturity by the State Government itself.

A 1000 Rupee note to buy a permit is quite affordable to any youth which may lead to the purchase of this certificate before the eligible age. There are different pubs in the city which are just distributing such permits without being concerned about the age but instead just wanting to attach the importance of consuming alcohol to Mumbai’s Nightlife. With relation to this, what type of responsibility has this law lead to? In short, this law has in a way tried to question the nightlife concept.

If one has an appropriate age and drinking permit, is it that one is allowed to drink and drive? If no, then why is it that there is no mention in this law which makes the drunken driving rules crystal clear to each youth? The reason behind the purpose of this question that has popped up is because if one is 25 years and permit is granted, then youngsters after this age may just practice drunken driving  as no rule regarding this is mentioned in the law.

There are even cases in which youths have tried producing fake certificates stating that the consumption of alcohol is necessary to them due to medical reasons. This in turn has lead to doubts with relation to the accuracy of the law. There are certain who agree and some who don’t agree with this law.

Through implementation of the law, the state government’s concern towards the issue is no doubt appreciable but the way it is implemented brings up certain drawbacks. there’s  a need to make improvement in this law either by making some changes in the law or mentioning each specifics in the law or by clear cut explanation behind the purpose of imposing such a law.