Ahead of the hearing of a case in Bombay high court, the transport department is conducting a fortnight-long drive against vehicles plying without a valid fitness certificate.
A RTO official said the drive will begin next week and continue till October 31. The transport commissioner’s office has directed all regional transport offices to submit the report of the action taken during the drive before November 3, 2016.
Fitness certificate issued from RTO offices after mandatory inspection of vehicles under the commercial transport category are fitted with yellow colour number plates.
Annual fitness renewal is necessary for all transport vehicles such as trucks, tempos, buses and auto rickshaws, while newly registered vehicles are exempted for two years. Hundreds of vehicles go through the process of fitness renewal daily across the state.
While hearing a PIL filed by Pune-based activist Shrikant Karve, the HC has directed the conducting of vehicle fitness tests on 250-metre long tracks. The court has given till October 20 for making necessary provisions for the test tracks.
Prior to it, acting on the HC directive, the transport department has made some procedural changes in the fitness renewal process, besides increasing the fine for plying vehicles without fitness renewal.
“If a vehicle is found plying without a fitness certificate, the owner would have to pay compounding fees of Rs2000 for the first offence. For the second offence, it would be either Rs5000,” said the RTO official, requesting anonymity.
Such periodical drives act as a deterrent and force people to renew their vehicle fitness on time, according to RTO sources, which ultimately helps in reducing road accidents and making roads safer.
Reducting in fine of renewal of fitness certificate
Last month, transport department reduced fine for late renewal of fitness certificate to Rs 100-200 for 15 days, from earlier Rs 1000 for first 10 days and Rs 100 per day thereafter. However, some RTO officials think it was a wrong decision and will result in reluctance in renewing fitness certificate on time. “Drivers or owners of vehicles must be spending more amounts on chewing pan, than the fine for delayed fitness renewal,” said an RTO official. Another official said that it should not have reduced below 50%.
All you need to know about fitness certificates
As per the rule 62 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989, fitness certificates is mandatory for all the transport vehicles – trucks, tempos, buses, and trailers – including public transport vehicles such as auto- rickshaws and taxis.
Before issuing f fitness certificate, inspectors need to carry out a physical inspection of the fitness and drive them to test their road-worthiness. The certificates are valid for one year for old transport vehicles and two years for new ones
Fitness certificate of non-transport vehicles – like your car – is valid for the first 15 years and thereafter has to be renewed every 5 years.
After a rap from the Bombay High Court, the Motor Transport Department issued a circular on August 28, 2012, directing all RTOs to follow proper procedure before issuing a fitness certificate to any vehicles.
In last February, the HC had directed the transport department to make 250 meters test tracks available at all the RTOs for vehicle testing. As the department couldn’t fulfill directive, it had stopped fitness renewal for avoiding contempt of the court. Later on HC given it time till October 20, for fulfilling the requirement
In 2014-15, total 6.64 lakh vehicles were issued fitness certificates including 1.14 lakh from Mumbai. Of those 5.51 lakh vehicles were of transport category while remaining was of non-transport category.
The Motor vehicle Act 1989 stipulates a fine of Rs100 for failing to produce a fitness certificate for the first time. For subsequent offences, the amount is increased to Rs300. Fine for not having a valid fitness certificate ranges between Rs2, 000 and Rs5, 000.