In this article, Ruchika Daga discusses when can MCD tow your vehicle and how can you release it.
What is Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)?
Municipal corporation is the second largest government body that governs eight districts of Delhi. It came into existence on April 7 1958. Prior to that Delhi municipal committee was the principal civil body of Delhi. It basically works for the development of local issues of Delhi like road issues, sewage cleanup etc.
MCD is divided into twelve zones across three municipal corporation
- Karol bagh
- Sadar Paharganj
- Civil lines
- Central Delhi
- South Delhi
- West Delhi
- Shahdara South
- Shahdara North
When can MCD tow your vehicle?
Towing and Traffic Rules
The following rules apply as per section 15 of Rules and Road Regulation, 1989.
- Vehicles are to be parked at parking spots only. A fine will be imposed if parked otherwise inappropriately thereby imposing a suitable fine.
- If someone parks his vehicle in between the road and cause inconvenience by being an obstruction and being a danger for the traffic in flow at or near a road crossing or on a footpath or far away from the edge of the footpath will be fined accordingly.
- If someone parks his vehicle near a traffic light or on the pedestrian crossing (which is meant for the pedestrians to cross the road) preventing the pedestrian to cross the road or obstructing another parked vehicle on wrong side of the road will be fined accordingly.
- No person can park his vehicle which will obstruct or be a hurdle for another parked vehicle or on wrong side of the road or near a bus stop, school/hospital entrance, blocking traffic sign or premises entrance or a fire hydrant.
- No person is allowed to park near a bus stop as it will cause inconvenience to the public to catch buses and also the bus drives to park their vehicle, or hospital entrance or premise entrances and causing trouble for public.
- If a motor vehicle is abandoned or unattended for 10 hours or more in a public place, so as to cause impediment or being a barrier to the free flow of traffic, it will be removed by a towing service or wheel clamping (practice of attaching wheel clamp to a vehicle) may be authorized by a police officer in uniform having jurisdiction for the same.
- If an unabandoned, burnt or partially dismantled, unattended, wrecked vehicle which is creating a traffic hazard because of its position in relation to the public place or its physical appearance is causing impediment to the traffic, its immediate removal from the (public place) by a towing serving may be authorized by a police officer having jurisdiction.
Consumer towing rights
Rule of one hour
Vehicle must be parked for full one hour before being towed unless it is parked in a manner that interferes with an entrance or exit or is within fifteen feet in a fire lane. The curb of a fire lane must be painted red and be clearly labelled as “No Parking Fire Lane.”
Release should be unconditional
If a vehicle owner encounters a tower removing his or her vehicle but the truck is not yet on a public road, the owner can demand the immediate and unconditional release of the vehicle. The law does not require the owner to provide a driver’s license.
Release Fee must be reasonable
If the tower releases a vehicle that has been illegally parked, the tower is entitled to no more than one-half his normal towing fee.
A tower cannot take any vehicle to a storage lot that is more than ten miles from where it was parked.
Warning must be clearly posted
A tower must have written consent from the property owner or his agent, who must have waited one hour before calling the tow. Also, a sign not less than 17 inches by 22 inches in size should be displayed in plain view at all entrances to the property.
It should prohibit public parking and mention that vehicles will be removed at the expense of the owner, and post telephone number of the local traffic law enforcement.
One Day Maximum Storage Charge
If the appropriate fine are paid within the initial 24 hours of storage and the storage facility fails to comply or is not open during normal business hours, only then one day’s storage charge will be taken.
Reasonable Gate Fee
The gate fee charge for releasing a vehicle after normal business hours shall be half the hourly tow rate charged for initially towing the vehicle.
Penalty for Excessive Charges
A person who charges from the owner of the vehicle towing service or storage charge at an excessive rate is liable to the vehicle owner for four times the amount charged.
Towing Valid Permit (photos, records)
The tower must have a valid motor carrier permit and must make records and photographs of each tow available for law enforcement, and shall not share profits from towing with owners of property who call for a vehicle removal.
Credit Cards acceptance
The tower must accept credit cards in payment for towing and storage fees, which must be reasonable.
Duties of Municipal Corporation of Delhi
Taking picture of the vehicle is mandatory
It is mandatory for the police personnel to take a picture of the vehicle first beforing towing it away. Towing a vehicle without taking a picture would be illegal. This will also curb the corruption problem.
Vehicle can be taken to the designated place only
MCD cannot unload the towed vehicle at a place other than the towing company’s designated place for vehicle storage facility.
Vehicle to be released after fine has been paid
A vehicle storage facility may not refuse to release a vehicle in its possession to the owner of the vehicle or the owner’s agent, after the person pays the applicable fees, unless a law enforcement agency directed that vehicle should not be released, or release of the vehicle has been prohibited by an order of the court.
MCD should take reasonable care while towing the vehicle so that the damage does not occur to it and it may remain in the same position as it was before towing.
Compensation for damages occurred in the course of towing the vehicle
There is no as such provision for compensation if any damage occurred to the vehicle in the course of towing it. When vehicles are towed it is because the person has broken the law.
How can you get your vehicle released from Municipal Corporation of Delhi
There are two Enforcement Agencies in Delhi for Regulation, Monitoring and Enforcing provisions of Motor Vehicle Act and Rules framed thereunder.
- Wing of Transport Department
- Traffic Police
To reclaim a vehicle, a fine is imposed between 3000-5000 thousand depending on two factors
- Weight of the vehicle
- Number of days it remains in MCD’s custody
- Vehicle owners can pay their traffic challan and get their vehicle released on the spot, provided they pay the towing charges usually charged if vehicles are towed away as well.
- The traffic challan receipt, as well as the towing charges receipt, will be given to the vehicle owner if he/she decides to get their vehicle released on the spot but it will be subject to them agreeing to pay the amount or else the regular process of challan and towing away the vehicle will be followed.
- By sending a message to the WhatsApp number of Delhi Traffic Police and you’ll get a contact number to find out the whereabouts of your vehicle. This facility is available on WhatsApp number 8750871493,(a helpline launched by the Delhi Traffic Police). Apart from helping the person locate their towed away vehicle it also helps to see the shortest route to reach to it.
How to dispose of the challan?
- By compounding
- By disposal of the court
- The police officer compounds the challan on the spot by depositing the notified amount.
- If you are challenged by the transport department the duty officer will compound your challan at any given day between 10:00am to 4:00pm on any working day.
Challan Disposal in the court
- For disposal by the court the person itself have to appear in the court on the date and place specified in the challan.
- If the person is guilty the court may impose penalties on the facts and circumstances of the case.
- If you do not plead guilty you may be asked by the court to submit ground/documents basis of which you do not plead guilty. After hearing you and the challaning officer, the court will decide the case.
Is the MCD inspector authorized by law to tow away vehicle from the parking lot? If so, under which section of which act?
Yes, the MCD officials are authorized to remove articles encroaching on public place.
Under section 320 – Prohibition of structures or fixtures that cause obstruction in streets.
- No person shall, except with the permission of the Commissioner granted in this behalf, erect or set up any wall, fence, rail, post, step, booth or other structure whether fixed or movable or whether of a permanent or temporary nature, or any fixture in or upon any street or upon or over any open channel, drain, well or tank in any street so as to form an obstruction to, or an encroachment upon, or a projection over, or to occupy any portion of such street, channel, drain, well or tank.
- Nothing in this section shall apply to any erection or thing to which clause (c) sub-section (1) of section 325 applies.
Under section 321 – Prohibition of deposit of things in streets.
- No person shall, except with the permission of the Commissioner and on payment of such fee as he in each case thinks fit, place or deposit upon any street, or upon any open channel, drain or well in any street or upon any public place any stall, chair, bench, box, ladder, bale or other thing whatsoever so as to form an obstruction thereto or encroachment thereon.
- Nothing in sub-section(1) applies to building materials.
Under Section 322 – Power to remove anything deposited or exposed for sale in contravention of this Act.
- The Commissioner may, without notice cause to be removed any stall, chair, bench box, ladder, bale or other thing whatsoever, placed, deposited, projected, attached or suspended in, upon from or to any place in contravention of this Act.
- Any article whatsoever hawked or exposed for sale on any public street or in other public place in contravention of this Act and vehicle, package, box or any other thing in or on which such article is placed.