We’re getting back from an overdue team lunch and my colleague next to me in the car exclaims: “Oh! a VIP car is getting checked!” We all cheered. The new Motor Vehicles Act had just kicked in and stories of fines that cost more than the vehicles were giving social media its new outrage. Lawless Delhi was beginning to stop before the zebra crossing and the four-hour lines at the pollution centres were telling their own story of the degree of non-compliance with basic road rules.
We’ve all heard and told stories of order and rule of law in the more developed parts of the world and shaken our heads to say—how well we behave when abroad, why don’t we do the same here? Then we’ve aspired for tougher rules and their implementation at home. But bring tighter rules on the ground and we resort to strange acts of defiance—newspaper reports said that one drunk biker set his vehicle on fire rather than pay the fine. Reacting to the public outrage, several states are rolling back the steep fines with one eye on political gains.