The police man smiled and said "Sir! Talking over the phone when driving ... with or without hands free is banned in India. Don't you know that?". I was shocked. I said "Sir ! I didn't know this". He asked me to get down and give my driving license. He said Rs.1,100 will be the fine for talking when driving. "Oh! My God.. that is a hefty amount". I asked him, "Sir! Are you sure it is Rs.1,100?". He nodded "Yes!". I didn't want to beg him to lower the fine. The Gandhian in me was not interested to bribe him. I said, "OK! I'll pay the fine". I thought, "Anyways the money goes to the government. So, I'm OK". The policeman punched in the vehicle and license details in the hand-held device and gave me a receipt. I paid him the money, got into the car and started my vehicle.
Also read: Driving on Indian roads - pleasure or pain?
Somehow, my mind became restless. In fact, I was more focused on the traffic when I was talking over the phone and driving. However, my thoughts were running all over because of the hefty fine amount that I paid. "Why me?!" was the question that was going on in my mind. I have seen a number of two wheeler riders talking when driving... that too without a hands free device. Why haven't they been caught? What if there is a co-passenger sitting beside me and he is talking with me constantly? Is that illegal too? What is the difference between talking with a hands-free and talking to a co-passenger in the car? In fact, the latter is more dangerous because you'll have to look at the co-passenger once in a while when talking.
I can completely understand the rationale behind asking people "not to talk on phones, when driving". However, having paid Rs.1,100 as the fine amount, I couldn't convince myself without finding answer for the questions that were popping in my mind. I reached office and got settled in my desk. The first thing that I did was to google to find out "how much is the fine for talking when driving in India". I confirmed that the policeman can charge up to Rs.1000 as fine for talking when driving. I also learned that "playing music in the car" is also illegal. The fine amount for that is Rs. 100 :)
If the traffic policeman start to enforce the rules strictly, Tamilnadu Government can make a lot of money from drivers than by selling alcohol in TASMAC bars.