Saturday, June 28, 2008

Following traffic rules in the case of dark films

I really wonder sometimes about whether we should blame the ordinary citizen or the police when you see laws and rules being broken so easily in the country. I was witness to something that left me wondering about this question. We see traffic rules normally broken very casually on the roads (speed limit, usage of helmets and seat belts, drunk driving, red lights, etc); most rules are broken very easily. The sad part is that most of us are guilty at some point about breaking these rules and later blaming the police for being inactive and not enforcing the rules.
I had gone to an car accessories shop for some seat covers, and witnessed a number of vehicles parked there (hogging a lot of space in the market, but that is a different story), and employees of the shop busy fixing dark film on the windows of the cars. Now, once many years back, when the police had ruled that the dark films are not allowed on car windows, I had been ordered by my parents to be the one to remove the dark film It was a painful process, and I had always hesitated after that to fix dark films because of this reason.
Now, dark films look cool; they also aid in ensuring that the car does not get so heated up in summer. Unfortunately, the dark films also end up hiding the interior of cars; preventing a clear visibility of the inside. In some of the cases where a rape has been conducted inside a moving car in Delhi, the car has typically had dark film installed. It also prevents Delhi police from being efficient in inspecting vehicles fast when they have information about criminals and terrorists. Hence, the police have decided that dark films will only be allowed up to a certain percentage of opacity.
The cars on which I could see the dark films were being installed were seemingly way beyond the level allowed by the Delhi police. When I asked one of the owners of the shop about this, he showed me a car on which the allowed level was being installed (it was in a minority). On further enquiry, he told me that most people request films more than what was allowed, and if he won't do it, others will. So, he runs a business and installs what they want.
The query that I had was now: Who is the person who is breaking the rule ? Is it the car owner who will install whatever version of the dark film that he wants ; Is it the shop owner who agrees to install the non-compliant version of the dark films ; o is the police whose rules (and enforcement of the rules) has become so ineffective that people no longer care for those rules ?

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 10:22 PM