Odisha human rights body questions govt’s relaxation on MV Act
About two weeks after the state government announced relaxation in implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, Odisha Human Rights Commission raised questions asking what would be the stand of the state in case of a road accident by illegally driven vehicles during the period of relaxation.
On September 9, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had asked the transport department and police officials to “not aggressively go on an overdrive but rather counsel and handhold the public to facilitate compliance with the amended provisions of MV Act”.
Expressing concern over the public resentment over strict enforcement of the provisions of the amended MV Act, Patnaik had given a three months’ breather to motorists so as to enable them get all their vehicle documents ready.
Responding to a petition by advocate Shivshankar Mohanty over the death of a college student in Cuttack last week, OHRC said the liberty granted by the government is being misutilised as a licence by habitual law breakers creating a free for all situation on the road endangering the life and property of law abiding citizens, drivers and pedestrians.
In their order, OHRC chairperson BK Das and member secretary Asim Amitabh Das said some people are bent upon not to abide by law and are obstructing officials from discharging the duties. “The trend seems to have increased during the period of relaxation,” the commission said insisting that its suo motu intervention in the matter is for the purpose of giving out certain recommendations to the government.
The Commission also raised some questions over the breather asking the Deputy Commissioners of Police (Traffic), Bhubaneswar-Cuttack police commissioner and Regional Transport Officers whether persons having no driving licence/insurance can be allowed to drive vehicles during this three months’ period granted by the government to obtain/rectify the legal documents.
“If a vehicle driven by a person without driving licence causes any road accident then what would be the legal consequence? Will the insurance company be liable? If not, who will pay the compensation to the claimant?” the commission asked.
It also asked the state government whether overloaded auto rickshaws are being periodically checked and hauled up in case of violation of conditions of the registration and traffic rules.
State transport department officials said in the aftermath of the implementation of the MV Act, the Regional Transport Offices across the State have issued 57,238 Learner’s Licence between September 1 and September 19 while 1.41 lakh applicants are still in queue to obtain a driving licence in the state.
In comparison, only 3.53 lakh driving licences were issued in 2018.