With the amendment in the Motor vehicle Act government had made traffic laws stricter than it was necessary. Traffic police while doing their job need to check whether a person who is driving, has all documents with him or not. In this case police may ask that person to show the documents. If he is unable to show documents police may charge penalties for violation of laws. Sometimes police may take away the keys of the vehicle because the defaulting driver can run away at such moments. But the question that pricks our mind is whether police are allowed to snatch the keys of vehicle?
In this article we will try to find out the answer of this question. We will also look into what to do when police snatch your vehicle key without any reason or due to some reason.
Powers of Traffic Police Officer
- Traffic police has power to ask you for the driving licence. He may ask for other documents such as registration certificate, insurance certificate, PUC certificate etc. for inspection.
- Police officer may seize your driving license and other documents if he finds it necessary. In such cases receipt of acknowledgement will be given to such person.
- You are bound to obey the orders of traffic police on road regardless of the electronic signals.
- A police officer may impound and detain your vehicle if you are found driving without your license, permits, and certificates.
- A police officer may arrest you without warrant if you are found committing any offence.
Do the police officers have the right to snatch keys?
According to Right to Information (RTI) filed by an advocate Pawn Parikh and also according to the rules, police officer below the rank of sub inspector has no right to ask a person for the documents of your vehicle. Also no officer has right to snatch the keys of one’s vehicle without any reason.[i]
What to do in such cases?
- You should stop your vehicle if a traffic police gives signal for this. He may ask you for the documents like driving licence, registration certificates, etc. and you should show all the documents asked by the police.
- You may ask him for the reason to stop you in a polite manner.
- If you have a genuine reason, try to explain it to police officer.
- If he snatches your vehicle keys without any reason, then take a photo of the same. Recently Hyderabad Additional Commissioner of Police (traffic) has appealed to people that if any traffic police is not behaving according to the standards and rules, take photograph and post it on Hyderabad police Facebook page.[ii]
- You can file complaint against such traffic police.
In this article we discussed on what you should do when traffic police snatch your key. Traffic police is considered as the authority on road and you should follow the guidelines of traffic police. But if any police officer annoys you without any reason you can take action against him. No police officer below the rank of Sub Inspector has the right to ask for documents of your vehicle and no officer has the right to snatch keys. Police officer has the right to seize documents and vehicle if someone is breaking the law. Practice of taking keys away, by police while checking is common, but if the officer is not behaving as per the standards and procedures you can take action in such cases.
“The views of the authors are personal“