Giving into the demand made by transport vehicle owners, the state government last week scrapped the daily penalty it levied for delay in renewing expired fitness certificates.
For the past three months, owners of commercial vehicles [with yellow number plates] were paying double penalties daily — one levied by the state and another by the Centre — for their failure to renew expired certificates within the stipulated time.
Starting September 26, 2016, the state had been collecting a fine of Rs100 from taxis and auto-rickshaw owners and Rs 200 from owners of other transport vehicles such as trucks, tempos, buses and tankers for failing to renew fitness certificates within 15 days after expiry. However, the Centre too has been levying a daily fine of Rs50 for the same since the beginning of 2017.
Commenting on the state’s decision to withdraw the daily penalty, a senior official from transport department said, “First, we imposed the penalty. Then it was the Centre. As it didn’t make sense to impose a double fine for same offence, the state revoked its penalty.”
Another source in the transport department said that Pune-based activist Shrikant Karve had also brought the issue of double penalty to the notice of the Bombay high court by filing a civil application.
Initially, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) had imposed a hefty fine for delay in renewing certificates. The decision as was taken to curb accidents. The MMRTA had levied a fine of Rs 500 on autos and taxis owners for failing to renew fitness certificates for their vehicles within 10 days of expiry, followed by a daily fine of Rs50 until renewal. Similarly, the fine for other vehicles was Rs1,000 for first 10 days and Rs100 per day thereafter. However, the amount was reduced.
Moreover, to achieve uniformity while imposing penalty for delay in renewing fitness certificates, the state amended section 86(5) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, last September.
Dayanand Natkar, leader of Maharashtra Truck Tempo Bus Tanker Vahatuk Mahasangh, welcomed the state’s decision, but claimed that the governments misinterpreted the law while imposing fines.
“How can both the governments impose daily penalties when the registration of a vehicle gets cancelled if its owner fails to renew the fitness certificate within the stipulated time?” he said.