AMENDMENTS IN MOTOR VEHICLES ACT

The Motor Vehicles Act 1988 needed a change as the traffic in India has increased by leaps and bounds. The Ministry of Transport and Highways (Ministry) felt that there was an urgent need to amend the Motor Vehicles Act. As per the data of the Ministry roughly 1.5 lakh people were killed in road accidents every year in India. Hence to introduce an efficient, safe and corruption free transport system in the Road and Transport Minister of India Shri Nitin Gadkari introduced the new Motor Vehicles Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Parliament.

The said Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is based on the recommendations of the Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of States constituted by the Ministry to address the issue of road safety and to improve  the inter personal dealings of citizens with transport departments. 

The said  Bill was passed by both Houses and notified on 28th August 2019 by the Ministry and the amendments came into force from 01st September 2019.

The Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019, which contains 63 provisions that deal with penalties, licenses, registration and the National Transport Policy has several amendments. Some of the amendments of interest to the public are:

S no. PENALTY OLD AMOUNT NEW AMOUNT
  1. Penalty for offenses where no penalty is specifically provided Rs 100 for first offense and Rs 300 for second/  subsequent offense. Rs 500 for first time offense, Rs 1,500
for subsequent offense
2. Violation of road regulations Rs 500 to Rs 1,000
3. Disobedience of orders of Authority and refusal to share information   Rs 500   Rs 2000
4. Un authorized use of vehicles without license Rs 1000 Rs 5000
5. Driving without license Rs 500 Rs 5000
      6. Over-speeding Rs 400 Rs 1000 – Rs 2000 for light motor vehicle, Rs 2,000 – Rs 4,000 for medium passenger or goods vehicles and impounding of driving licence for second/subsequent offence.
      7. Drunken Driving       – Imprisonment up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs. 10000 for first offence and imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine of Rs. 15000 for second offence.
8. Driving uninsured vehicle fine of Rs. 1000 and/or punishment up to 3 months

 
Rs. 2000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 months for the first offence and fine of Rs. 4000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 months for the second offence.

 
9. Causing obstruction to free flow of traffic   Rs 50 Rs 500

Applicants seeking learner’s license can now apply to any licensing authority in the State online. The minimum educational qualification to drive a transport vehicle has been removed.

In the case of hit-and-run, the compensation amount provided by the Government to the victim’s family has been increased from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh.

Concerning road accidents, a time limit of six months has been specified for applying for compensation to the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.

The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highway Nitin Gadkari announced on 11th September 2019 that States were free to make changes in the penalties under the new Motor Vehicle Act. The statement comes after some States, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Bihar, expressed dissent over its implementation in totality, as the new law led to hefty penalties on traffic violators. The Minister said the idea of imposing fine was to make people disciplined not to collect revenue from fine.

“The Motor Vehicle Act is in our concurrent list, in which both State and Centre governments have the right to formulate the law. Fines vary as per violation, and States have the right to take the decision,” said the Minister.

The Gujarat Government reduced the challan amounts imposed under the new Motor Vehicles Act for breaking traffic rules. BJP-ruled Gujarat is the first State to do so. The new rules will come into effect from 16th September, 2019 onwards. The Delhi Government is also considering reducing certain penalties.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced that the fines laid down in the new act were the maximum suggested and his Government had reduced them after detailed deliberations.

The new Motor Vehicles Act after implementation has now reduced accidents and the fear of heavy penalties has reduced traffic violations. It is hoped that with these changes in the Motor Vehicles Act India will now follow the footsteps of advanced Countries.

GOVIND GUPTA

ASSOCIATE

THE INDIAN LAWYER

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