The Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill 2016 was already passed by the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Parliament last April. It was referred to the Select Committee later as it could not be passed by the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House) due to lack of political consensus. The Select Committee Panel has now submitted its recommendation to the Rajya Sabha for consideration.
The present law as per Motor Vehicle Act 1988 came into force from 1st July, 1989 replacing the Motor Vehicle Act, 1939. This Act regulates all aspects of road transport like driving license, registration of motor vehicles, control of motor vehicles through permits, traffic regulation, state road transport authorities, insurance, liabilities, offence and penalties etc. within the country.
India struggles with around 5 lakh road accidents every year and more than 1.5 lakh people lose their lives in the fatal accidents. Also there are wide variations and dissatisfaction among the masses on the way the road transport authorities function. The Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill is aimed at addressing the road safety issues and improving the transport scenario in the country.
The report submitted by the Select Committee has assured state autonomy to regional transport offices and is in favor of “One Nation, One Permit, One Tax.” If passed by the Rajya Sabha, the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill is going to bring major reforms in transportation sector. The new law will revamp the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and usher in sweeping changes in the transportation sector. The Bill includes the provision of heavy fines on over speeding and a ten-fold increase in the fine from Rs. 500 to 5,000 for driving without license.
The 12-member Select Committee has asked the Centre and state governments to work in unison towards “One Nation, One Permit, One Tax.” The committee’s recommendations include higher punishment of seven years in case of fatal accidents and one time third party lifetime insurance of vehicles at the time of purchase. It has also asked the government to frame the norms to test cases of drunk driving.
The committee assures the states autonomy.
The Select Committee report also suggests the government to consider the bill to increase the punishment under hit-and-run cases. The present cap of Rs. 25,000 as compensation in hit-and-run cases would go up to Rs. 2 lakh. The committee has given their favorable opinion about the enhancement of compensation towards the victims of hi-and-run cases.
Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport is very enthusiastic about the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill who during the Monsoon Session of the parliament termed the Bill as the “Biggest reform in transport sector”.
Gadkari appealed to the opposition parties during the ongoing Winter Session to pass the Bill and help in reducing the road accidents by 50 percent. The Winter Session of the Parliament commenced from 15th December 2017 after the Gujarat state elections and will continue till 5th January 2018. The minister is hopeful of getting the Bill passed in the Winter Session.
There are ample hopes that the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill would be passed during the current Winter Session as the political disruptions in the Parliament appear to subside.
With the GST already in place, the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill could further lead the nation towards uniform car prices across the India. Readers may also read “Uniform Car Prices across India.”