Union Minister of Road Transport and Highway Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said 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.
"Firstly, 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. He added that India reported the highest accidents in the world. "I have told this many times that India reports about 5 lakh accidents per year, of which over 1.5 lakh people die. This the highest rate of deaths due to traffic accidents in the world," the minister said.
"There are many reasons for these accidents, including road engineering, road accidents, and automobile-related, but one of the major problems is that violators neither respect the law nor there's any fear," he added.
Urging people to follow traffic rules, the minister said if people didn't break the law, they won't be fined. He also said that media coverage on fines had helped, and people could be seen in large numbers outside RTO offices to get driving licences. "Over 30 per cent driving licences were bogus earlier, which is now changing. All this could lead to a lesser number of deaths due to accidents," he said, urging people should take the law seriously.
On the increase in revenue because of traffic fines, the minister said the increase in revenue would go to both state and Central governments' kitty. On the recent controversy surrounding Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's remarks that the auto slump had occurred as youngsters preferred cab aggregators like Ola and Uber over buying cars, the minister said new technologies always lead to new results.
The Gujarat government on Tuesday announced a reduction in fine amounts stipulated in the new Motor Vehicles Act. The new penalties for traffic violations came into effect from September 1. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced the fines laid down in the new Motor Vehicles Act were the maximum suggested and his government had reduced them after detailed deliberations.
The Parliament had given its nod to the amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act in July this year and they were implemented from September 1. However, some states have opposed it, saying the Centre was burdening the common man with heavy fines.
Edited by Manoj Sharma