Fines can not be lowered by states under Motor Vehicles Act: Centre under limits that are prescribed

Fines can not be lowered by states under Motor Vehicles Act: Centre under limits that are prescribed

NEW DELHI: No state can lower traffic penalties under the level prescribed under the Motor Vehicles Act, the central government said on Monday.

In an advisory to countries, the road, highways and transport ministry said the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 is a parliamentary legislation and the state governments can’t pass any law or take executive action to lower penalty below the prescribed limit unless President’s assent has been obtained to related state law.

The transportation ministry had sought legal advice on this after one of the states had notified amounts for compounding of certain offences reduced to what has been prescribed in the new Act.

The new Act with stricter provisions has come into force in the country from September 1, 2019.

“Ministry of Law and Justice has tendered their information after seeking opinion of Attorney General of India.

The advisory to the principal secretaries of states also mentioned the legal opinion that in case of the failure of states to implement the Act, reference could be made to Article 256 of the Constitution that authorises the Union of India to issue directions to a state as may be necessary for the purpose.

Article 256 provides that the executive authority of each nation shall be so exercised as to guarantee compliance with regulations made by Parliament and any present laws which apply in that state, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a state as may seem to the Government of India to be necessary for this purpose.

The advisory also quoted Attorney General’s opinion that”the disobedience of these directions could well attract the provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution of India, and you could therefore proceed on the basis that the central law could implicitly be obeyed by the state governments”.

The ministry said the aim of this Act and enhancement of penalties for traffic offenses was to ensure greater compliance and enhancing deterrence for violation of traffic rules which is intended to provide for improved road safety resulting in decrease in deaths and accidents on roads.

Earlier, the government had stated that for offences Gujarat, Karnataka, Manipur and Uttarakhand had reduced the penalties.

Penalty for driving without licence was increased to $5,000 from $500 before, while riding two-wheeler without helmets will not only attract fine of $1,000 but could lead to suspension of licences for another three months.

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