Cabinet clears motor vehicle bill, heavy fine on violators

Cabinet clears motor vehicle bill, heavy fine on violators
The cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday approved changes to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which proposes hefty penalties for violation of traffic norms. “The bill will be tabled in Parliament next week,” Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari told DH after the meeting, saying the cabinet endorsed all suggestions made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport and Culture. 

After the Union Ministry of Road Transport tabled the bill in the House, it was sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by MP Mukul Roy for further vetting. Recently, the panel submitted its report, recommending some changes to make the law more robust to punish errant drivers. The bill also proposes to treat death due to drunken driving as culpable homicide not amounting to murder under the Indian Penal Code. In the proposed bill, there is a provision of up to Rs 10 lakh compensation in case of a road fatality.

According to the new legislation, driving without a licence will attract a fine Rs 5,000, while overspeeding will attract penalties in the range of Rs 1,000-Rs 4,000. As much as Rs 10,000 will be charged for a vehicle without permit, while driving without seat belt will attract a fine of Rs 1,000. Riding without a helmet will make the rider poorer by Rs 1,000, in addition to the suspension of his/her driving licence for three months. Overloading two-wheelers will attract a fine of Rs 2,000 in addition to the suspension of licences for three months.

The bill, which seeks major amendments to the three-decade old act that has outlived its utility on several counts, also proposes an Aadhaar-based verification for the grant of online services, including learners’ licence. This would ensure the integrity of the online services and stop creation of duplicate licences, Gadkari said.

The amendments will help in reducing the harassment faced by stakeholders at RTO offices. A national database of vehicles and driving licences would help in the safety and security, and avoid malpractices, Gadkari added. By imposing a hefty fine against violators, the government aims to reduce accidents and fatalities by 50% by 2020.

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