A day after Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari defended steep penalties for traffic violations introduced under the new Motor Vehicles (MV) Act, BJP-governed Gujarat on Tuesday announced a steep cut in such penalties, in some cases by up to Rs 4,000.
On Monday, Gadkari had said that even he has been fined for speeding on the Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai.
On Tuesday, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said his government has no interest in harassing people by levying steep fines or dragging court cases for years, but it takes safety of people as its top priority. He said, The Union government introduced some strict changes in MV Act and set maximum penalty for various offences. State governments have been given power to set the limits. Each provision in the amendment has been discussed by a high-level committee of lawmakers and experts.
Briefing the media on the notification issued by the state government, Rupani said the new provisions will come into force in Gujarat from September 16.
Compared to penalties under the amended MV Act, Gujarat has scaled down the amount significantly for violations such as driving without licence and other documents or riding/driving without a helmet/seat belt.
The penalty for not carrying licence, pollution control certificate, insurance and registration certificate has been kept at Rs 500 for first-time offence and Rs 1000 for a second offence – the Central MV Act set it at Rs 1,500 for a repeat offence.
Similarly, the penalty for violations such as using black films on windowpanes, speaking on cellphone while driving, and parking in no-parking zone has been kept at Rs 500 for first-time offence and Rs 1,000 for a second time – the corresponding fines under the Central law is Rs 500 and Rs 1,500.
Penalty for riding a two-wheeler without helmet and driving without seat belt is Rs 500 in Gujarat, against Rs 1,000 under the Central law.
Instead of a fine of Rs 10,000 for obstructing an ambulance or any other emergency vehicles under the Central MV Act, the state police would levy a fine of only Rs 1,000.
For driving without licence, Gujarat has reduced the penalty from Rs 5,000 (under MV Act) to Rs 2,000 for motorcycles and Rs 3,000 for three-wheelers and light motor vehicles (LMV). In Gujarat, driving a vehicle without registration would incur a penalty of Rs 1,000 for two-wheelers, Rs 2,000 (for three-wheelers), Rs 3,000 (LMVs) and Rs 4,000 for heavy motor vehicles (HMVs). The penalty is a flat Rs 5,000 under the Central Act.
For driving vehicles without fitness certificates, the fine has been kept at Rs 500 for three-wheelers and Rs 5,000 for LMVs and HMVs - the Centre has kept the penalty at Rs 5,000 for all vehicles. For driving vehicles without pollution check, the penalty in Gujarat will be Rs 1,000 for bikes and LMVs and Rs 3000 for HMVs. The penalty for this offence under the MV Act is Rs 10,000.
For driving on the wrong side, the penalty in Gujarat is Rs 1,500 for three-wheelers, Rs 3,000 for LMVs and Rs 5,000 for HMV, compared to Rs 5,000 for all vehicles as proposed by the Centre.
The state government has decided to retain the same penalty as the Central Act for offences such as speeding, racing and driving without insurance. The fine for speeding is Rs 1,500 for two/three-wheelers and tractors, Rs 2,000 for LMVs and Rs 4,000 for HMVs.
For racing, the penalty is Rs 5,000 for a first offence and Rs 10,000 for the second, the same as the Central law. For driving a vehicle without third party insurance, the penalty is similar as the Central rule – Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000 for first and second offences, respectively.
Rupani said his government has deliberately kept the penalty low for offences such as triple-riding or pillion riding without a helmet. We often see that people in rural areas do triple-riding due to lack of facilities or resources. So we have waived any penalty on triple-riding on three-wheelers and pillion riders sitting without a helmet, he said.
Stating that Gujarat sees more than 20,000 accidents every year, with casualty of approximately 7,500, Rupani said, Recently, five youths died in an accident due to speeding. We have decided to introduce strict penalty for acts such as racing, drink driving or doing stunts which can cause harm to lives.
He also said, In the next one month, we will conduct various drives and campaigns for traffic awareness so that the people are ready when the Act comes into effect. We are also trying to identify accident-prone spots and heavy traffic spots to ensure there is no traffic mismanagement.