Gujarat Chief Minister Rolls Back Some Of The Steep Penalties Imposed Under The New Motor Vehicles Law

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New Delhi: After protest in many parts of the country, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani rolled back some of the steep penalties imposed under the new motor vehicles law for traffic violations in the state, saying the state government had relaxed the fines mostly for two-wheeler riders since they hail from the lower and middle class.

Rupani told reporters that the state was taking an empathetic view.

Gujarat is the first state to roll back some of the penalties and introduce different penalties for the same set of traffic violations. In all, the state has made 18 changes to the penalty structure. The new penalties will come into force from September 16.

The penalty for a two-wheeler rider for not wearing a helmet has been reduced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 500. The penalty for triple riding has also been brought down.

Driving on the wrong side of the road will continue to cost motorists driving four wheelers or more Rs 5,000 but if the violation is committed by 2 or 3 wheelers, the traffic police will only fine them Rs 1,500. Driving without a valid licence will be penalised with Rs 1,500.

The state government’s relaxations come against the backdrop of growing public anger against the heavy fines, exacerbated by police and transport department officials going on an overdrive.

For example, there are reports that a trucker from Rajasthan had been fined nearly Rs 1.5 lakh in national capital Delhi for a string of traffic violations. In Odisha, public anger had spilled over to the state last week during a drive against violators. People vandalised a police van and detained several police vehicles which they had complained, had not been stopped by the police despite violating the law.

Union transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has refused to review the fines, insisting that people had to learn to respect the law in the country where 5 lakh road accidents take place and 1.5 people lose their lives annually.

Not everyone in the business of making roads safer agrees that this is the right approach. On Tuesday, non-profit International Road Federation (IRF) called for a gradual increase in traffic fines. The federation’s KK Kapila said there had been cases of false and entrapped prosecution by the police after the new fines became effective from September 1.

 

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