Uttarakhand became the second state after Gujarat to announce a cut in penalties for traffic violations introduced under the Centre’s amended Motor Vehicles Act. Few states have adopted the Act in its entirety, while several states have put it on hold. The Indian Express looks at how the amended Act is being implemented across the country:
Uttarakhand: Penalties cut
The state government on Wednesday decided to adopt the amended Act but with cuts in penalties.
The state Cabinet decided that penalty of Rs 2,500 will be charged for allowing an unauthorised person to drive a vehicle, whereas the Centre had proposed penalty of Rs 5,000. Likewise, penalty for a person driving a vehicle without licence or a minor driving a vehicle at a public place will attract penalty of Rs 2,500, reduced from Rs 5,000 as proposed by the Centre.
If one who is disqualified from having a driving licence drives a vehicle at a public place, penalty of Rs 5,000 will imposed instead of Rs 10,000 as proposed by the Centre. For the use of handheld communication device while driving, the Centre proposed penalty of Rs 5,000, but Uttarakhand decided to cut it to Rs 1,000 for the first offence.
Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik said that the amended Act will be adopted and implemented with the changes decided in the Cabinet meeting.
For violation of standards of air pollution or noise pollution, the Centre has proposed penalty of Rs 10,000. But the state government has decided that penalty of Rs 2,500 will be charged for the first offence and Rs 5,000 for the second and subsequent offences.
The Centre proposed penalty of Rs 1,000 if a child inside the vehicle is not protected by Child Restraint System or safety belt. The state has decided to charge penalty of Rs 200 in such case.
The state government has decided to charge penalty of Rs 5,000 for not giving way to emergency vehicles like ambulance and fire brigade. The Centre had proposed penalty of Rs 10,000.
For driving an uninsured vehicle, the Centre had proposed penalty of Rs 2,000 for the first offence and Rs 4,000 for second and subsequent offences. The state government has reduced it to Rs 1,000 for two-wheelers and three-wheelers and Rs 2,000 for other vehicles in case of first offence. Penalty will be doubled in second and subsequent offences for these category vehicles.
Karnataka: Implemented, penalties to be cut
The amended Act came into force on September 3. However, the state government will approach the Centre for permission to reduce the penalties, Transport Minister Laxman Savadi said on Wednesday. The government will seek a report from Gujarat on the new penalties and efforts will be made to ensure that the new fines are not detrimental to the interests of common people, he said, after holding a discussion with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on reducing fines on the lines of Gujarat.
Gujarat: Penalties cut
The state government has slashed the penalty for 15 violations under the Act, thereby reducing the quantum of fine by 50% in most cases and by 70% in some, compared with the penalties decided by the Centre. “The government has no interest in harassing people by levying steep fines. Our priority is safety of human lives and we will ensure strict implementation of the new amendments, which have been reviewed by a high-level committee of experts and lawmakers,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said.
Maharashtra: Not implemented
The state government is yet to implement the penalties under the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act. Last week, Transport Minister Diwakar Raote said that while his department has made an administrative decision, it is awaiting the opinion of the Law and Judiciary Department before announcing the modified fines.
Odisha: Moratorium for 3 months
The state on Monday relaxed implementation for three months after a spat between police and the public at several places in Bhubaneswar. “The CM directed the enforcement agencies not to go on an overdrive, but rather counsel and handhold the public. The Transport Department has been directed to augment public services, open extra counters, conduct camps in public institutions so as to enable motor vehicle users to update their compliance status. This process will continue over the next three months so that adequate time is made available to the public to ensure compliance,” the statement said.
Madhya Pradesh: On hold
The state has put on hold the implementation of the amended Act, saying the fine for violations is excessive. Law Minister P C Sharma said the state will study its implementation in other states, and that fines will be cut because states have the authority to do so.
Chhattisgarh: On hold
Chhattisgarh, too, has decided to go with the old spot fines. “We are examining if the state government can make amendments,” Home Minister Tamrandhwaj Sahu had said.
Punjab: On hold
Punjab has not implemented the amended rules. Transport Minister Razia Sultana said in a statement, “For the time being, provisions of the amended Act would not be applicable in the state and until any decision is taken on the implementation of the amended Motor Vehicles Act, old fines would be taken from traffic violators.” She added, “Transport being a state subject, the Punjab government will exercise its discretion in implementing some of the provisions of the amended Motor Vehicles Act…”
The state has implemented the new rules without slashing the penalty on traffic violations. However, in the poll-bound state, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said they would first launch an awareness campaign on the amended Act.
The transport ministry has issued a notification asking all state and district authorities to ensure compliance with the amended Act, and passed an order on September 1 saying the fines prescribed by the Centre would be implemented in the state.
Uttar Pradesh: No notification yet
The state government is yet to issue a notification to implement the amended Act. UP Traffic Police at present collects compounding fines for certain traffic violations, including driving two-wheelers without helmet and driving cars without seat belt, as per the notification issued on June 7, said Inspector General, Traffic Directorate (UP Police) Deepak Ratan. For some offences like drink-driving, fines are imposed by the court.
Assam: Will Implement
Assam has decided to implement the new law by next week. “It will be implemented as it is, and we might add a few points. We will notify it by next week. We are awaiting an opinion from the Home Department on the level of officer who will fine the offender,” said Assam minister and government spokesperson Chandra Mohan Patowary.
Kerala: Implemented, but now on hold
Kerala had collected hiked fines for traffic violations for three days, but protests by the public and trade unions forced the state government to stop collecting the hiked fines. NCP leader and Kerala Transport Minister A K Saseendran said, “For the time being, we have decided not to collect the revised fines for traffic violations.” He said Kerala would also factor in the decisions of the Gujarat government to reduce fines and of other states to put on hold the new rules.
West Bengal: On hold
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the state government will not implement the amended Act as it will burden the people. The state will continue with the existing West Bengal Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. “We have given special focus to our traffic safety programme, and police and other stakeholders are working towards reducing accidents. If we implement it (new rules), it will come as an additional burden.”
Rajasthan: Implementing partially
Rajasthan has decided to implement the rules partially. On September 3, CM Ashok Gehlot announced that the compounding fee for 17 offences will initially be kept low “for practical reasons”, so that people are “self-motivated” to follow traffic rules. However, the fines for 16 serious offences will be kept high, as per the amendments.
Tripura: To be implemented
Transport Minister Pranajit Singha Roy said: “These are good amendments. There is no negative aspect to it. We will implement it as it is.” The state government has started an awareness drive.