Delhi gangrape: Chartered bus impounded 6 times in 2 years

LN

The Delhi traffic police has called for higher penalties for repeat violations, citing the case of the gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedic student on board a private bus on December 16.

Police said the bus used for the gangrape was impounded on several occasions in the past and released on payment of meagre fines. In this backdrop, the Delhi government stated that they were mulling stringent action against repeat traffic offenders.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg said, "The vehicle was impounded six times and was operating without a valid permit or a fitness certificate. Maybe the penalty structure is not enough to deter such offences. The penalty structure enacted in 1988 is not sufficient in 2012."

On a social networking site on Friday, Garg said the bus was impounded on six occasions in 2011 and 2012, but released to the transporter after paying a fine.

Garg added that the bus was plying without a permit and without a fitness certificate and picked up passengers, when it was not authorised to do so.

The post on the website also states that Ram Singh, the driver of the bus and an accused in the case, was apprehended on July 21 for "doing exactly the same violation which he did on the fateful day namely picking up passengers unauthorisedly in the same chartered bus (DL1PC 0149) involved in gangrape and bus was impounded".

Asked if the government was mulling more stringent measures against repeat offenders, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said she had asked Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami to look into this. "I have asked the transport department to consider their options in improving the system. Suggestions include higher penalties and the suspension of driving licences and permits," Dikshit said.

She has also ordered the transport department to improve its enforcement wing. After receiving complaints from commuters of violations including overcrowding, over-charging and unauthorised routes, the transport department had moved to take stricter action, even starting an exclusive telephone number for commuters to register complaints.

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