Backlog blues: Police catch them, magistrates forget them

Traffic challans piling up; admin dumping backlog instead of properly disposing cases.

Creative Amna Iqbal/obaid Abbasi December 23, 2013
According to sources, the Islamabad Capital Administration (ICT) have a backlog of over 58,000 challans. ILLUSTRATION: AMNA IQBAL


While the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) may claim to be the best in the business, especially when compared to their brothers-in-arms in other cities, the disputed challans they have issued to violators in previous years are still piling up in the offices of city magistrates.

According to sources, the Islamabad Capital Administration (ICT) have a backlog of over 58,000 challans.

Between January 1 and November 31, the assistant commissioners could only dispose of 66,596 cases out of 88,128 new cases this year, which have been adding up on their desks pending disposal. The challans issued in the same period totaled Rs14.4 million

According to documents available with The Express Tribune, 58,195 traffic challans have been pending for more than a year and magistrates have failed to address the backlog. In fact, the number would have been even higher if 30,674 cases had not been ‘closed’ by shifting them to the record room.

The highest numbers of traffic challans — 16,243 — were registered in the month of November, a month which also saw the highest number of cases — 9,071 — disposed off. Similarly, the month saw the ITP issuing Rs2.27 million in fines.

Challans are issued by the traffic police for different violations and challans against which the fines go unpaid are transferred to a magistrate’s office.

In terms of ‘dumping’ cases, the documents also showed that the performance of Industrial Area (IA) magistrate’s office was the worst this year, as it consigned 11,947 cases to the record room. On the same note, 7,442 cases were consigned by the Rural Area assistant commissioner, 5,901 by the Saddar magistrate, and 5,384 cases by the City magistrate.

Notably, Rs14million in fines issued by the ITP in 2012 have still not been collected because the challans were issued against documents such as driving licenses and national identity cards (NIC), some of which had inaccurate data on them.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Mujahid Sher Dil put the responsibility on the shoulders of the traffic police, saying that they had issued challans against NICs and driving licenses which the violators did not bother to retrieve. He suggested that challans should only be issued against vehicle registration documents, which are much harder to get by without.

“We have sent a request to Traffic SP Asmatullah Junejo to avoid a repetition of the practice so that the ICT administration can reduce its pendency.”

Asmatullah Jenejo could not be reached despite numerous tries.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2013.


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