Parking Laws In India None of the Indian metropolises is immune to the demon of parking woes. So, when Enrique Peñalosa remarked, ‘A city can be friendly to people or it can be friendly to cars, but it can’t be both’, we feel there is a grain of truth in there for India. The rapid urbanization and infrastructural development that have emanated from economic growth and population explosion has triggered a plethora of other issues; parking is one of the most pressing issues from among those. Add to that the nonchalance with which the people flout traffic rules, and things get further complicated. This is what the current situation looks like: there is tremendous pressure on the very limited parking spaces, which in turn often means that there is traffic congestion, leading to major roadblocks in the traffic flow and in turn, roads are getting more susceptible to accidents. Then there is the need to address the excessive consumption of private modes of commuting— which makes this problem insurmountable in addition to having hazardous implications for the environment and public at large. Penal provisions for parking illegally Thankfully though, the government and the authorities are taking note of the magnitude of the issue addressing it in parts. The most recent development has been the notification of the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019 that has enhanced hefty fines for flouting traffic laws. It is likely that cases of non- compliance will go down now that there are huge sums of fines being charged. Similar developments have been taking place in various metropolises too. One such provision is regarding the stringent ‘No parking’ rules. The Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mumbai Traffic Police have implemented new traffic rules earlier in the year, as per which since July, parking vehicles in no-parking zones can cost fine between Rs 5,000 to Rs 23,000. For a city that does not have enough space as it is, this may aggravate parking woes, but it will regulate the parking at the same time.
It is no hidden fact that the number of parking spaces available in Indian cities is significantly less compared to the sheer number of cars commuting in the city every day. The pace at which the registration of new cars is taking place will only keep adding to this number. The equilibrium between demand and supply of parking lots is at best, a fanciful dream. In Mumbai, over 3 million estimated vehicles run every day, so the penal provision for parking in a ‘No Parking’ space may sound harsh, but it is important to know this. The penalty, applicable on all vehicles parked in a 500-metre radius of the 26 authorised public parking lots and 20 designated BESTS depots in the city, constitutes the actual fine for illegal parking and towing charges. These punitive fines will be up to Rs 15,000 for heavy vehicles (and as mentioned this figure includes the towing charges). With a penalty for late payment, it could go up to as much as ₹23,250. What do the fines mean? The penalty charges would stretch from Rs 5000 to Rs 8,300 for two-wheelers and Rs 15,000 to Rs 23,250 for heavy vehicles. The offenders will have to pay the extra fine on late payment. The higher end of the range is after a penalty for late payments are included in the base amount of the fine. The problem that these fines are attempting to address relate to the traffic and congestion caused by people parking their vehicles in unauthorized places that stop the traffic and then cause chaos and congestion, especially on busy roads. The goal is to curb instances of people simply parking anywhere, disappearing for brief to prolonged periods to complete some work before returning. It may seem like a harmless action but by the time people get back to get their vehicles, the traffic is already in chaos, especially on main roads. With metropolitan cities, it is trickier because the spaces are already few and far between. Implementation of the ‘No parking’ Rules The BMC has also requisitioned services of ex-service personnel and private security guards to help the traffic police in its drive against illegal parking. The BMC has instructed all its local wards to appoint private agencies
to implement the new parking rules. The civic body will use the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act’s Section 314 and 381 that deals with encroachment and nuisance for action against the violators. Why the huge fine? Illegal parking is a contentious issue, and BMC has been fining people rather proactively since the implementation of this rule. Parking woes in cities like Mumbai are several. According to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) figures, there are over 32 lakh vehicles in the city. This is bound to create chaos when all these vehicles ply on the roads: most people park their vehicles along footpaths and roadside causing huge obstruction to pedestrians and other motorists. This penalty will also help to generate awareness about the actual parking spaces. BMC has Public Parking Lots but they are not used either due to lack of awareness or people want to save time and money by illegally parking on roadside rather than going to PPLs. As per the notice, the implementation of the new rules started initially around the dense traffic areas and localities having sufficient alternative parking facilities and gradually the new parking rules extended to all other areas of the city. Summarily, here’s what you need to know: any vehicles found parked within 500 meters of public parking lots (PPL) and 20 designated BESTS depots in the city, will be slapped with a fine. The rule has been introduced to deter people who tend to park their vehicles on roads rather than using the available parking lots. Or those who leave their vehicles in unauthorised spaces. This is a menace because such congestion can trigger an insane traffic jam. A vehicle in violation will also be towed away, and the driver will be slapped with the monumental fine, with a separate penalty for late payment.