Updated: September 8, 2019 1:54:35 pm
EVEN AS the central government finds itself in the middle of a controversy on social media over hefty fines for traffic violations, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday defended the new Motor Vehicles Act, saying that it was not the government’s intention to impose heavy penalties but to bring road discipline and preventing accidents that cause loss of lives.
After the Motor Vehicle Act (2019) came into effect from Sunday, reports have said a two-wheeler rider was fined Rs 23,000 in Gurugram for various norms violations, while a truck driver was given challan for Rs 59,000.
“The government does not wish to fine people. A time should come that nobody has to pay such fines,” said the Road Transport and Highways minister who has been piloting the stict penal provisions in the new Act for the past three years before the Bill finally got passed in Parliament earlier this year after multiple attempts.
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Referring to an instance of a drunken autorickshaw driver, Gadkari asked, “If there is an accident then who would be responsible for that?”
On some states such as West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh refusing to implement the new Act, he said the subject is in the concurrent list and this Act took shape after a committee of state transport ministers, coming from seven political parties, recommended it.
“The Bill had even gone to a standing committee in Parliament, which gave its suggestions and then it was approved,” the minister said.
Stressing on the need to have strict penalties for traffic norms violations, Gadkari said, “In the country, there are 5 lakh accidents happening each year, around 1.5 lakh people die. Should we not save these lives? If there is no respect for the law of the land and there is no fear as well, then it is not a good thing.”
The government has notified 63 provisions of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019, including the ones dealing with enhanced penalties for various traffic offences, from September 1. Pollution Under Control centres across the many cities, like Delhi, have been reporting a massive surge in vehicles lining up to get pollution certificates.
Since the new regime of hefty fines came into being on September 1, a state like Odisha has recovered fines worth Rs 88.9 lakh in 4080 challans. Haryana traffic cops on the other hand have recovered Rs 52,32,650 worth of fines through just 343 challans.
The 63 clauses deal with penalties, licences, registration and National Transport Policy, among others. The new law enhances penalty for unauthorised use of vehicles without licence to Rs 5,000 from up to Rs 1,000.
Besides, the penalty for driving without license will be increased from up to Rs 500 to Rs 5,000. The new rules also enhance penalty for drunken driving to imprisonment up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs 10,000 for first offence and imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine of Rs 15,000 for second offence.
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