Rights panel files case against AI camera exemption for Ministers

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has filed a case against the exemption given to Ministers from the purview of the AI cameras installed by the Motor Vehicles department in the State.

The commission registered the case on the basis of a complaint given by rights activist Boban Mattumantha, who had written to the National Human Rights Commission pointing out the discrimination between the people and those in power.

“Exempting Ministers and other officials from the purview of the AI cameras erected for our road safety is sheer injustice and a challenge to the ordinary people. All citizens enjoy the same rights guaranteed by our laws and the Constitution,” Mr. Mattumantha said.

He sought the intervention of the commission to end the discrimination being resorted to by the MVD. “It’s unjust to grant permission for VIPs to violate the laws,” he said.

Mr. Mattumantha pointed out that there had been several accidents caused by Ministers’ vehicles and their pilot vehicles. “By exempting Ministers and VIPs from punitive fines, the Motor Vehicle department is diluting its claim of ensuring people’s safety on the road. At the same time, it is strengthening the argument that the department is trying to fleece the people to raise funds for the government exchequer,” he said.

Mr. Mattumantha cited the example of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak being fined 100 pounds for failing to wear a seat belt while travelling in his car in January. He also cited the example of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro being fined for not wearing a mask during COVID-19 time, and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg being fined for violating the COVID-19 protocol.

“Other countries are sending messages that everyone is the same before the law; but our State is still trying to discriminate by making such exemptions for a section,” he said.

As many as 726 AI cameras were set up by the MVD across the State with the hope of reducing road accident deaths.


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