Bill to reform motor vehicle law introduced

Source: Business Standard, Aug 10, 2016

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Motor Vehicles Act.

It proposes to increase the penalties for traffic rule violation, make it easier to get a learner’s driving licence and ease the provisions on vehicle permits, to help growth of public transport. And, to promote automation and computerisation.

In a new provision, the guardian/owner will be deemed guilty in a road offence by a juvenile; registration of the vehicle will be cancelled and a fine of Rs 25,000 with three years imprisonment, while the juvenile will be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. However, it is a rare provision where a prison term has been recommended for offenders over and above monetary penalty.

The Bill will be taken for discussion and passing in the winter session of Parliament.Every year, 500,000 road mishaps are reported from across India, in which 150,000 lose their lives. India is a signatory to the Brasilia declaration on the issue of safety and is committed to reduce the number of road fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020.

Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari introduced the Bill. Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge asked that it be sent to a parliamentary committee for discussion. Gadkari disagreed, saying these amendments had been pending for over a year and incorporated suggestions of a group of 18 transport ministers of various states, from different political parties.

The Bill recommends up to a Rs 10,000 fine for drunken driving and increase in compensation from Rs 25,000 to Rs 200,000 for hit-and-run cases. It also provides compensation of up to Rs 10 lakh for road fatalities.

The fine for over-speeding would range from Rs 1,000 to 4,000, driving without insurance will be punishable with a Rs 2,000 fine and/or a three-month jail term. Driving a two-wheeler without a helmet will attract a Rs 2,000 fine and a three-month suspension of licence.

Of the 223 sections of the present Act, the Bill seeks to amend 68 of these. Chapter 10 of the present Bill is being deleted and Chapter 11 is being replaced with new provisions to simplify third-party insurance claims and settlement. It has also proposed to insert 28 new sections.

The Bill proposes that a state government can specify a multiplier, not less than one and not greater than 10, to be applied to each fine under this Act.

Other highlights include permitting states to grant exemptions in stage carriage and contract carriage permits for promoting rural transport, public transport and last-mile connectivity.

Also, a state can regulate activities in a public place of pedestrians and means of transport.

It will also enable online learning licences, increasing the validity period for driving licences and doing away with the requirement of educational qualifications for transport licences if the candidate has a certificate from a motor driving institute.

To improve the registration process for new vehicles, registration at the end of the dealer is being enabled and restrictions have been imposed on temporary registration.


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