Three cheers to the Traffic Department of Kerala for their sincere efforts to finally value the life of the Citizens of the State of Kerala, by placing hard surveillance on the errant and rash, and for their will to punish the offenders. Though my legal mind is fully in favour of the said actions, my logical mind is finding it hard to digest, which may be due to the strongly engraved impressions about our narrow bustling roads, congested pedestrian crossings, faded zebra lines, bright colours of the flags on the roads of all political parties, dangerously positioned banners, bright LED lights, head-turning hoardings, over-politeness of traffic wardens towards impatient politicians who does not want to wait on traffic signals and on top of all unbearable honking of bureaucratic vehicles!
All actions are to be analysed based on the intention of the doer. At first glance, the intention of the traffic police seems to reduce the blood-shedding on the streets of Kerala happening due to reckless driving habits and careless road etiquette. But when you look a bit closer and deeper, the real intention of the doer is getting surfaced, which regurgitates to my mind as undigested thoughts. When the Government is giving targets to the Vehicle department to collect a handsome amount as penalties to fill its dried-out coffers and empty treasuries, the said intention is getting questionable and doubtful. Such an intention is rather shameful and such decision-makers are really a burden on the people of Kerala.
Before spending a hefty sum on AI-enabled cameras to identify and mercilessly punish the offenders, the authorities should have shown the courage to create better, wider and safer roads, proper pedestrian crossing and signalling systems, usable service roads, functional street lights, efficient warning signals and proper road maintenance systems. Though the list of offences and the penalties for the same are detailed, I could not find any penalty for the accidents happening purely due to poor road conditions. Who shall be punished for such accidents and what report will be given by the AI? If AI cameras can be used to identify the potholes on roads, that would have been a great value addition to society.
Artificial Intelligence is non-discriminatory in nature as it cannot identify a king unless he is naked. AI is as pure as the baby who shouted at the nakedness of the King but the output of the AI can be manipulated to protect the King from such unexpected revelations. By excluding a section of the public from the coverage of the traffic offences, what message the Government is trying to pass on? Or whether their skulls and bones are thicker like their skins to survive the accidents? Nonetheless, if the AI cameras are not discriminatory and the errands are being punished, irrespective of their positions and political backgrounds, then the intention behind this can be considered sincere to an extent. If the Government is imposing the law with all its might and will, the same should be welcomed, provided there are no discriminatory privileges to anyone. Otherwise, the AI cameras shall be a tool in the hands of bureaucrats to harass the common man and eventually, they shall object to it with teeth, nails and votes.
Bijoy Pulipra Advocate