While a simple traffic rule enforcement, Operation Screen, organised by the Kerala Motor Vehicle Department, has come under heavy criticism for having given ministers and senior bureaucrats a free pass. The operation follows the Supreme and High Court orders reinforcing the removal of tinted glass and curtains inside vehicles, affecting internal visibility.
While the Courts had said that all come under the law, yesterday’s traffic inspection shows that the officers had allowed ministers and high-level bureaucrats as well as top cops too evade the fine. The Court order notes that people who have Z and Z+ category protection are exempt from the law, and the only two people who qualify the conditions are Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. However, visuals, now circulating the social media, show that ministerial cars rushing inside the Assembly compound use curtains and tinted glass. This also includes top bureaucrats and a police officer of the DGP rank.
While Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran had removed the curtains from his official vehicle, he had evaded a police check along his route at PMG in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Addressing the criticism of letting a minister skid the law, the officers at the checking spot had claimed that they were unable to stop the official vehicle as it moved to another lane. Meanwhile, the same officers had stopped DCC President Neyyatinkara Sanal and told him, ironically, that no one is above the law.
The MVD, under the aegis of the Road Transport Officers and police, organised widespread searches and checks to find transgressors. The officers have already fined around 900 people for the usage of sun-controlled films, while people who used curtains were let go with just a warning. The fine amount came up to Rs 1,250 for the transgression. The high amount is an amalgamation of two different sections — a traffic rule and a section consisting of the violation of Court order. The fine is limited to first-time offenders, as a repeat would result in the cancellation of registration. Operation Screen is organised besides the usual hunt for helmets and papers, as a primary focus on enforcing traffic rules is considered by the department.