It is a lesson Mumbai-resident Nitin Nair learnt the hard way and one that a lot of people might be unaware of. Nair, an executive with a financial firm, was fined for offering lift to three people who were stranded due to heavy rains on Monday, June 18. "Today I was fined by our country's court of law just because I helped some people who were in need," Nair wrote in a Facebook post.
On his way to office on Monday, Nair saw couple of people near Airoli Circle looking for lift as public transport vehicles were either crowded or late. So, he stopped and offered a lift to three people including a senior citizen and two IT professionals. As they got in, a traffic police officer in a towing vehicle stopped him and asked for his licence. The officer then wrote him a receipt and asked him to hand over his licence. Upon inquiring, the officer said, "It is illegal to give a lift to unknown people."
Nair was asked to go to the police station the next day, pay the fine and retrieve the licence.
On reaching the police station the next day, Nair discovered that he was charged under section 66/192 and he would need to appear before a judge, accept his mistake, pay the fine and then get his licence back. Meanwhile he consulted with a lawyer who informed him that there indeed is such a law that makes it illegal to offer lift to strangers.
Section 66 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act 1998 states: No owner of a motor vehicle shall use or permit the use of the vehicle as a transport vehicle in any public place whether or not such vehicle is actually carrying any passengers or goods save in accordance with the conditions of a permit granted or countersigned by a Regional or State Transport Authority or any prescribed authority authorising him the use of the vehicle in that place in the manner in which the vehicle is being used.
Once at the court, Nair was asked to pay Rs 2,000. Upon accepting his mistake and requesting, the fine was cut to Rs 1,500. He was finally able to get back his licence the following day.
An irate Nair finally wrote, "If such is the law of our country then no one will help a person even if he is dying on the road... I'm not writing to debate what is right or wrong but to make you guys aware that "Our country doesn't want us to help our fellow countrymen.""