MP, Bengal not to implement Motor Vehicles Act; Rajasthan to review penalties
Two Opposition-ruled states, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, said on Sunday they had decided not to implement revised penalties under the amended Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) for now as they were very high, even as the Rajasthan government said it would review the fines on Monday.
Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are ruled by the Congress and West Bengal by the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.
The amended MV Act has penalties up to 10 times the previous amounts. The amended act came into effect from Sunday.
“There is a steep hike in fines as per the amended Motor Vehicles Act which has been implemented today. I have asked the transport commissioner to visit other states to see the impact of the amended act,” said Govind Rajput, Madhya Pradesh’s transport minister.
The minister said several public representatives have met him and expressed their concern over the huge increase in the fines for traffic violations. “I have no problem with steep hike for drink-driving, etc., but it should not adversely affect people who face fines for minor offences.”
The minister said that the decision on implementing the new fines will be taken only after the transport commissioner submits his report on the impact of fines in other states in a week’s time. “Till then, the older fines will continue,” he said.
MP’s law and legal affairs minister PC Sharma said the law would be implemented once people were made aware of the enhanced fines. “The amended law says a person not wearing a helmet while riding a two-wheeler can be fined Rs 5,000 and if he fails to pay it, he can be jailed. How many people will go to jail?” Sharma asked.
The state’s BJP spokesperson, Rajneesh Agrawal, said: “The state government should immediately implement the amended Motor Vehicles Act which was brought after a lot of considerations and in view of increasing number of accidents and accidental deaths in the country. But the Congress government is more concerned about those party workers who might be penalised for violations of the Act.”
The West Bengal government, meanwhile, has written to the Centre about its objections to the amended law and has said that it will not implement the new penalty provisions till the central government addresses the state’s concerns, according to an official aware of the developments. West Bengal transport minister Suvendu Adhikary did not respond to phone calls on Sunday.
The senior transport department official familiar with the matter said the West Bengal government has written to the Centre objecting to the “steep hike” in penalties that could burden the common man.
Saying that Rajasthan will implement the amended MV Act, state transport minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas on Sunday said under the amended MV Act, the states have the power to review the penalty imposed by the police.
“Our aim is to curb road accidents but with such high penalty amount, we do not want to create terror among people. We want the fines to be practical and it should not lead to corruption,” he said, adding a meeting to review the penalty amounts has been called on Monday. “The Union road transport ministry should have taken suggestions from all states and held talks on the issue before finalising the penalties,” he said.