Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Tables Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill In Parliament

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Tables Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill In Parliament

07/15/2019

Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highway, has tabled the Motor Vehicle Amendment bill in the Lok Sabha today. The updated Motor Vehicles Act has been in coming a long time and is expected to make our roads safer with strict rules and hefty increase in penalties for traffic violations. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was first announced in 2016 and was pending for approval in the Rajya Sabha. However, the bill was never approved during the government’s previous tenure. The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill was made in consultation with transport ministers from 18 states along with discussion with other standing committees.

Increasing Penalties On Traffic Violations

One of the major components of the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill looks to increase the traffic fines significantly. For example, the fine for not wearing a seatbelt or a helmet will go up from ₹ 100 currently to ₹ 1,000. The fine for over-speeding will be raised to ₹ 5,000 from the current ₹ 500. And the fine for drinking and driving has been increased from ₹ 2,000 to ₹ 10,000. There are additions as well in terms of violations including not giving way to emergency services such as an ambulance will attract a fine of ₹ 10,000, while aggregators violating terms will have to pay a fine of ₹ 5,000.

Change in Rules For Issuing Driving Licences

In his speech, while tabling the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, Union Minister Gadkari said that 30 per cent of driving licences in the country are bogus. The amendment also states that the use of Aadhaar number will be mandatory for applying for driving licence and vehicle registrations. Currently, the driving licence is valid for 20 years and the bill aims to reduce the validity to 10 years. People renewing their licences after the age of 55, will have validity only for five years.

Defining Taxi Aggregators

The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill will finally recognise app based cab aggregators like Ola and Uber and define them as a digital intermediary or a market place. India’s state governments will grant licenses to the aggregators based on the guidelines framed by the central government. However, the said guidelines haven’t been made yet. The aggregators will also be required to comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Vehicle Recall

The new Motor Vehicles Bill will allow the central government to recall motor vehicles in certain cases. A faulty motor vehicle will be subject to a recall if it causes damage to the driver, environment or other road users or if it is reported to the central government. In such a situation, the manufacturer could be asked to reimburse the buyers for full cost of the vehicle or replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle, similar or better.

Liability On Third Party Insurance

The bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at ₹ 10 lakh in case of death and at ₹ 5 lakh in case of grievous injury. This implies that the insurance company is liable to pay only up to these specified amounts. However, the bill does not cap the compensation amount to be decided by the courts. The standing committee examining the 2016 Bill recommended deleting the provision relating to capping of liability for insurance companies.

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