The state transport department has directed that minors be disallowed from appearing for driving tests on two-wheelers above 50-cc engine capacity. A recent government circular also said such minors would require valid licences before they ride the gear-less motorbikes.
The move comes close on the heels of directives from the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court after a PIL raised concerns over those aged below 18 riding scooters or bikes above the permissible engine capacity.
According to Section 4 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a person between 16 and 18 years is permitted to ride a two-wheeler having an engine capacity of less than 50 cc, while Section 7 allows a person to ride a two-wheeler without gears.
The circular said individuals between 16 to 18 years of age must hold a valid two-wheeler licence for riding bikes without gears and below 50 cc capacity. It also directed all regional transport offices (RTOs) to allow minors to take driving tests on gear-less bikes only.
It further went on to say anyone found in violation of the rules, will be imprisoned or fined Rs 1,000 or be imprisoned and fined. RTO officials said though they have directed squads to punish offenders, an action can be taken only against vehicle owners or parents of the minors.
“As the law does not allow us to take any action against minors, a strict action will be taken against vehicle owners or parents of such minors found riding bikes above 50-cc limit and using their vehicles. The recent circular made the licensing part very clear and also raises the fine to Rs 1,000 along with imprisonment in comparison to Rs 300 before,” a senior RTO official said.
On August 23, Vilas Shinde, a traffic police constable was allegedly attacked with a wooden plank by a juvenile after he asked the latter for his vehicle documents at a petrol pump in Khar. Shinde was posted there to collect vehicle details when he was brutally hit by the minor. Shinde had later succumbed to the injuries.