States can reduce fines under new MVA: Gadkari

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said that the states can cut down fines under the new Motor Vehicle Act.

"I have no objection to states notifying penalties for traffic offences under Motor Vehicle law. Our aim is to save lives and not to earn revenue," Gadkari told reporters here.

The Centre and state governments both have the right to make suitable rules, the Minister added.

More than 15 lakh people have lost lives in road accidents in India in last decade, he said, adding that the new law was made after consultation with the states.

The Gujarat government is the first state to reduce the traffic fine. The state government reduced the penalties by 25 % to 90 % compared to the provision in motor vehicle act, owing to compassionate and humanitarian grounds.

Legal opinion 

Separately, the Union Ministry of Road Transport officials sought legal opinion whether the states can reduce the penalties below the prescribed range under compoundable offences like speeding, driving without a licence.

In compoundable offences, where traffic rules violators pay penalty on the spot, the Ministry sought the opinion from Law Ministry whether the states can reduce the fine amount. However, in non-compoundable offences, where the fines are paid at court, the states can't reduce the fine amount.

New penalty 

The new penalties for traffic rules violations came into force on September 1 and now several states are planning to cut down the penalty amount.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her government will not implement the new traffic fines while Kerala has sought a report from the Department of Transport and Law. Bihar and Odisha are also planning to reduce the fine.

Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote said he had written to the Centre expressing unhappiness over the steep fine. 

Gadkari also said that the Centre is in consultation with states on reducing the GST rate on automobiles. However, the final decision to reduce the rate can only be taken by the GST Council.

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