Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2016

In this article, Gourav Khatri who is currently pursuing M.A. IN BUSINESS LAWS, from NUJS, Kolkata, discusses Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2016.

Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2016

The present era is the era of Motor vehicle and motor vehicle has become one of the important factors for an individual to fulfil their essential needs. Due to this the use of motor vehicle is increasing day by day. Likewise, everything has pros and cons in the same way motor vehicle on the one hand is one of the essential need of an individual and on the other hand it is becoming a man-made disaster day by day with the increase in accidents due to those motor-vehicle.

Due to increase in accidents day by day the number of people being killed in those accidents are also increasing and due to the death of people from accidents the dependents of those people are suffering and therefore, with an aim to decrease the number of road accidents caused by motor vehicle the Government of India passes an amendment bill 2016 in MV Act.

The amendment bill in MV Act aims to impose strict and heavy fine on the offenders of the traffic rules which in result will decrease the road accidents in India. The amendment bill in Motor-vehicle Act proposes 68 amendments to 223 sections and 28 new sections. The following are the amendments that are proposed in the bill.

Limit on insurer’s liability

The motor-vehicle amendment bill lays down the maximum liability in case of third party insurance that is Rs.10 Lakh in case where there is death and Rs.5 Lakh where there is an injury. The proposed bill limits the liability in respect of third party claims which was unlimited as per the Motor-vehicle Act. With this the liability of the insurance company will be limited to Rs.10Lakh in case of death and Rs5 Lakh in case of injury which was decided by the courts as per Motor-vehicle Act. If this particular provision is critically analyzed than it may in actual hampers the rights of an individual as it is indirectly calculating the value of a human’s life and the other factors which usually courts consider while deciding the compensation that is age, dependents, responsibilities, earning etc., of the person who died in the accident. These factors are the basic factors which need to be there while giving the compensation to the family/dependents of the person died in road accident. The proposal of max. Rs.10Lakh for death is practically does not fulfil the purpose of the Motor-vehicle Act; as, how Rs.10 Lakh as compensation would be justified in case where the person died in road accident was earning Rs.1 Lakh/month (for example)? The liability of the insurance company in case of third party insurance must be unlimited as it depends on facts of the case which differs in every accident and that can only be determined by applying the judicial mind. The act of legislature of generalizing the amount (Rs.10 Lakh and Rs.5Lakh) may be sufficient but they may also be insufficient in few case and the instance they are insufficient it will be injustice to the general public and the very purpose of the Motor-Vehicle Act will be nullified.

Safety of pedestrians and non-motorised transport

At present under Motor-vehicle Act, there are no provisions regarding safety of pedestrians and non-Motorised road users. In the amendment bill of 2016 in Motor-Vehicle Act the Government of India proposes to amend Section 138 of Motor-Vehicle Act which talks about ‘Power of State Government to make rules’ (for e.g. prohibiting the use of path made for pedestrians). As per the proposal in the bill there is an insertion of new sub-section (1A), under which the power has been given to the State Governments to monitor and regulate the activities of Non-Motorised road users and pedestrians in public places. By virtue of this section the State Governments would be able to rules in their state in order to regulate the use of road by children, cyclists (for example) etc. like, special lanes which can only be used by the cyclists or special zones for Vulnerable road users(VRUs). This amendment may help the VRUs in protecting themselves against the road accidents. As creating a special zone by State Government for the use of VRUs like children will stay them away from traffic which may result in an effective way to reduce accidents cause by VRUs as they are not well aware of the road and traffic rules.

Safety of children during commute

At present there is no such provision under Motor-Vehicle Act which makes it mandatory for every child to be secured by safety/seatbelt or a child restraint system. The amendment bill of 2016 in Motor-Vehicle Act proposes to insert Section 194B which will make it mandatory for the vehicle owner to ensure that the children sitting in the car is being secured by the safety seat belt or a child restraint system and violating seating of children in safely manner would attract the fine, for an adult in that vehicle/vehicle owner, of Rs.1000/-. Further the amendment bill in Motor-Vehicle Act also proposes amendment to Section 129, which provides for wearing of headgears for two wheelers. As per the proposal of this insertion of Section 129 in the amendment bill, it will be mandatory for child above the age of four years to wear headgear/helmet while being carried on two-wheeler.

The above mentioned proposals in the Motor-Vehicle Act are clearly proposed to ensure the safety of children who are being carried on vehicle and the adult is held responsible for ensuring the seating of child in the vehicle. However, the responsibility of adult for not ensuring that the child on two-wheeler has not wear the helmet is not there and it has also not been mentioned about the minimum age limit up to which it is mandatory for children to wear the seat belt in the vehicle. Further, vehicle like school bus are also frequently used by the children and at that stage how it can be assured that every child sitting on such type of vehicle is secured by seat belt as till now the vehicle like bus does not provide seat belts in the seats which are used by children and the purpose of this amendment is nullified if we consider that the children uses vehicle like auto-rickshaws in which the option of seat belt is not there even for the driver. Further the amendment in the Motor-Vehicle Act is silent on the minimum driver experience of the driver of the vehicles in which the children are usually carried, or the capacity of the vehicle in which children are being carried so that there is no situation in which any of the children has to sit on lap of anyone.

Robust Scientific and standardized accident investigation and data collection system

At present under Motor-Vehicle Act, in case of accident, the investigation is not done scientifically and the data is obtained from the FIR only which is prepared by the police under Section 154CrPC and the format of FIR is same for all type of offences. With the Amendment Bill 2016, it is proposed through amendment in Section 135 that the power has been given to the Central Government to make schemes according to which the investigation should be conducted in case of road accidents which will be in-depth investigation.

With this proposal to amend the process of investigation there will be a uniform manner in which investigation will be done in case of road accidents which are done by the State Government, at present. At present, the information is being recorded by the police officer in case of road accidents and the information is limited to the details of the parties involved in the accident. With this proposal, the investigation will be done in the manner specified by the Central Government, which will be uniform, and the investigation will be scientific and every aspect of road accident will be ascertained by the investigation authority.

Stringent punishment for faulty road design, engineering, and maintenance

At present, there is no provision in the Motor-Vehicle Act, which make the road contractors or the civic agencies liable for road design which are not adequate or up to the standard and non-maintenance of the road which are responsible for road accidents. In the Amendment Bill of 2016, there is no such proposal by which the road contractors could be held liable for non-maintenance of the road or faulty road design.

There is a need for such amendment in the Motor-Vehicle Act, as, the faulty roads or non-maintenance of roads is one of the major causes of road accidents. According to a report of 2015, there were approximately 10,000 road accidents due to faulty roads. There must be a section which would make the road contractors liable for faulty roads as this will also help the investigation authority to complete their scientific investigation efficiently and effectively.

Stringent punishment for drunken driving, over-speeding, violation of helmet and seatbelt laws

The amendment in the Motor-Vehicle Act, proposes strict and stringent penalties for the offences like drunk driving, over-speeding, etc. The list of those strict and stringent penalties is as follows:

Section Title Existing Penalty Proposed Penalty
177 General Rs. 100/-

 

Rs. 500/-

Rs. 1,500/-

 

New 177A Rules of road

regulation

violation

 

Rs. 100/-

 

Rs. 500/-

Rs. 1,500/-

 

178 Travel without travel document Rs. 200/-

 

Rs. 500/-

 

179 Noncompliance of orders of authorities

 

Rs. 500/-

 

Rs. 2000/-

 

180 Unauthorized use of vehicles without license

 

Rs. 1000/- Rs. 5000/-
181 Driving without license

 

Rs. 1000/- Rs. 5000/-
182 Driving despite disqualification

 

Rs. 500/-

 

Rs. 10,000/-

 

182A Punishment for offences relating to construction and maintenance of vehicles

 

Rs. 1000/- for the

First offence and Rs.

5000/- for

subsequent offence

 

Rs. 1 lakh per vehicle 1 year imprisonment for Dealer, Up to Rs. 100 crore for Manufacturer,   Up to Rs. 1

Lakh for Dealer selling helmets, and Rs. 5,000/- for Consumer.

 

182B Oversize vehicles

 

New

 

Rs. 5000/-

Rs. 10,000/-

 

183 Over speeding

 

Rs. 400/-

 

LMV :

Rs .1000/-,  for Medium passenger

Vehicle :

Rs. 2000/-

184 Dangerous driving

 

Rs. 1000/-

 

Up to Rs. 5000/-

 

185 Drunken driving

 

Rs. 2000/-

 

Rs. 10,000/-

 

186 Driving when mentally or physically unfit to drive

 

Rs. 200/- for the first

Offence and Rs. 500/-

for subsequent offence

 

for the first offence : Rs. 1000/- and  for subsequent offence :

Rs. 2000/-

 

187 Punishment for offences relating to accidents

 

 

Imprisonment of up to 3 months for first offence 6 months for second offence

Fine: Rs. 500/- for

First offence and Rs.1000/- for the

second offence

for the first  offence : 6 months + Fine:  Rs. 5000/- and  for subsequent offence : one year imprisonment for subsequent offence +  Rs. 10,000/-
189 Speeding / Racing

 

Rs. 500/-

 

Rs. 5,000/-

 

192A Vehicle without permit

 

Up to Rs. 5000/-

 

Up to Rs. 10,000/-

 

193 Aggregators (violations of licensing circumstances)

 

New

 

Rs 25,000/- to Rs 1Lakh

 

194 Overloading/Over Capacity Rs. 2000/- and Rs. 1000/- per extra ton

 

Rs. 20,000/- and Rs. 2000/- per extra ton

 

194A Overloading of passengers

 

New

 

Rs. 1000/- per extra  passenger

 

194B Seat belt

 

Rs. 100/-

 

Rs. 1000/- Child Restraint: Rs. 1000/-

 

194C Overloading of two wheelers

 

Rs. 100/-

 

Rs. 1000/- Banning for 3 months for license

 

194D Helmets

 

Rs. 100/-

 

Rs. 1000/- Banning for 3 months for license

 

194E Not providing way for emergency vehicles

 

New

 

Rs. 10,000/- Imprisonment: 6 months

 

196 Driving Without Insurance

 

Rs. 1000/-

 

Rs. 2000/- Imprisonment: 3 months

 

199 Offences by Juveniles

 

New

 

Guardian / owner will be deemed To be guilty. Rs 25,000 with 3 yrs. Imprisonment. The Juvenile: to be tried under JJ Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle to be held as invalid

 

206 Power of Officers to impound documents

 

  Suspension of driving licenses u/s 183, 184, 185, 189, 190, 194C, 194D,194E

 

210B Offences committed by enforcing authorities

 

  Twice the penalty under  the relevant section

 

The strict and stringent penalty has been proposed so that this could make general public to think once again before violating the traffic rules and therefore, the hazards on road could be minimized. On the other hand, this might increase the corruption too, as, such high amount of fine/penalty would force people to take another method rather than paying such high amount as fine, which may lead to increase in corruption. As the increase in penalty will lead to chances to compromise and settlement with the enforcement agencies. Therefore, this proposal of imposing such high fine would only be useful in reducing the accidents only if the enforcement agencies act strictly. And the time enforcement agencies are acting strictly, there will be no need of imposing high fine. The proposal of increasing penalty cannot be said to be a wise proposal as it is dependent on the enforcement agencies and the point where enforcement agencies are not working efficiently, the very purpose of this proposal will be nullified.

Electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety

At present, the monitoring and enforcement of road safety is the State subject and therefore, electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety varies from state to state and there no provision for electronic enforcement for road safety. With Amendment Bill of 2016 in Motor-Vehicle Act, which made proposal for insertion of new Section 136A under which the responsibility is now on the Central Government. The Central Government will make the rules regarding the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety. The robust electronic enforcement system incudes cameras like (speed cameras, speed guns, etc.)

With this proposal there will be uniformity of the rules and regulations regarding the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety. Further, with this uniformity there will be reduction in the human intervention and which further will help in reducing the corruption.

Offences by Juveniles

At present, if the vehicle is used by an unauthorized persons than the penalty of Rs.1000/- and/or imprisonment of up to 3 months are attracted and the provisions of IPC like Section 109(Abetment) read with Section (304II/ 304A)IPC in case of death or Section (109) IPC read with Section 337-339 IPC in case of injury are attracted.

The Amendment Bill of 2016, proposes, under Section 199A, the responsibility on the owner/guardian of the vehicle in case the vehicle is used by Juveniles or the offence committed by Juveniles. In such cases the owner/guardian of the vehicle will be liable for fine of Rs.25000/- and/or imprisonment up to 3 years and the Juvenile will be entertained by the Juvenile Justice Act; along with this the registration of the vehicle will be cancelled.

With such strict proposal the guardian/owner will understand their responsibility towards their vehicle and won’t allow their vehicle to be used by any unauthorized persons; due to which there will be less number of road accidents.

Dangerous driving

At present, the definition of ‘Dangerous Driving’ is very narrow under Motor-Vehicle Act and it does not include common traffic offences, like use of mobile phones while driving, jumping traffic lights, etc., which are one of the major reasons for the road accidents.

The Amendment Bill of 2016, proposes, other than extending the fine, amendment to section 184, under which the scope of ‘Dangerous Driving’ has been extended and now it includes the acts which are dangerous to the public like jumping traffic lights, using mobile phones while driving, driving wrong way, driving the vehicle in the manner which is not allowed as per law.

With this amendment the traffic rules violators will be more careful and may think twice before breaking the traffic rules and due to that the road accidents could be reduced. Also, the enforcement agencies will be able to penalize the traffic rules violators efficiently and effectively with uniform penalty for the offences committed by the violators.

Protection of good Samaritans

As per the judgement of Supreme Court in the case of ‘Safe life foundation v. Union of India’ where the Supreme Court held that the person who brings the injured person to the hospital in accident cases will not be having any civil or criminal liability. This judgement had given as force of law to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways which is binding across all states and UTs.

The Amendment Bill of 2016, proposes, insertion of new section i.e. Section 134A under which the protection has been given to the Good Samaritans. Good Samaritans are those people who help the victims of road accident by taking them to the hospital. This new section provides the protection to those people from civil and criminal liability. Also, this section lays down the procedure/rules that the Central Government has to make in order to examine the Good Samaritans.

With this amendment, the people who witness the road accidents will be willing to help the victims as, the fear of civil or criminal liability will not be there. Also, since the

Central Government has to make rules regarding the examination of Good Samaritans, therefore, the people with bad intention will be identified during investigation, which will ultimately help the victims and the investigation agencies along with this the loss of life in road accidents may be reduced as, the victims may get proper medical care ASAP.

Penalty multiplier (Power of the state governments to increase penalties)

At present, under Motor-Vehicle Act, there is no provision which provides the power to state government to increase the penalty/fine which is already provided in the Act.

The Amendment Bill of 2016, proposes, insertion of new Section i.e. 210A, under which the power has been given to the State Government to specify a multiplier, which shall not be less than 1 and shall not be more than 10, to be applied to every fine.

With this amendment, the State government will be able to increase fine in their respective states and the areas where the fine proposed in the present amendment is not sufficient in achieving the purpose, for which the present amendment bill is proposed, those areas may increase the fine up to a certain limit in order to reduce the road accidents in that area. For example the proposed fine for overloading of two-wheelers is Rs.1000/-, the State Government will be able to increase the fine from Rs.1000/- to maximum Rs. 10,000/- in their respective state.

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