Lok Sabha Passes Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill [Read Bill]

Lok Sabha Passes Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill [Read Bill]

After a day long discussion, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 to amend the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988.

Speaker Om Birla declared the Bill passed based on a voice vote in the house.

It is the same Bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha in April 2017. However, that Bill did not get clearance from the upper house and got lapsed with the dissolution of 16th Lok Sabha.

The 2019 Bill was tabled in the house by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Monday.

The notable changes proposed by the Motor Vehicles(Amendment) Bill 2019 are as follows.

Driver Refresher Training Course

Condition to undergo "driving refresher training course" for reviving license after suspension/revocation under Section 19, and also for compounding of traffic offences under Section 200 has been introduced.

Licensing of Cab Aggregators

Provision has been suggested to regulate licensing of cab aggregators, by amending Section 93 of the Act, and also by introducing definition of "aggregator" under Section 2(1A).

Community Service as punishment

Through amendment to Section 200 , punishment in the form of 'Community Service' can be imposed for traffic violations, . Newly proposed Section 2(4A) Act defines "Community Service" as unpaid work which a person is required to perform as a punishment for an offence committed under this Act .

Change in Duration of License

The duration of licenses to drive light motor vehicles and transport vehicles have been changed. The period within which license has to be renewed after expiry has also been changed.

Protection of Good Samaritans

The Bill defines "good Samaritan" as a person, who in good faith, voluntarily and without expectation of any reward or compensation renders emergency medical or non-medical care or assistance at the scene of an accident to the victim or transporting such victim to the hospital as per Section 134A proposed to be added. The Bill makes provision for protection of Good Samaritans from unnecessary trouble or harassment from civil or criminal proceedings and empowers Central Government to frame Rules for their protections.

Manufacturer to recall defective vehicles and components.

Newly proposed Section 110A enables Central Government to issue directions to manufacture to recall vehicle or components in cases of defects reported by such percentage of users as notified, or by any testing agency or by any other source.

Liability of contractor/concessionaire in case of faulty road design

Newly proposed Section 198A imposes liability on contractor, concessionaire or designated authority when their failure to follow prescribed design and standards results in death or injury.

Liability of Guardians in case of accidents by juveniles.

Newly proposed Section 199A imposes liability on guardian or the owner of the vehicle responsible for an accident caused by a juvenile.

Enabling insurer to seek exoneration from liability for non-receipt of premium

The amendment makes non-receipt of premium one of the specified conditions, which would enable the insurer to seek exoneration from the liability., by virtue of new section proposed as Section 150 2(c)

Limited Liability in no-fault cases.

The Amendment replaces Section 163A with Section 164. The structured formula system of payment of compensation envisaged by Section 163A of the earlier Act on the basis of Second Schedule is sought to be repealed. The Second Schedule is also sought to be taken away. This provision contemplates payment of rupees five lakhs in cases of death, and rupees two lakhs and fifty thousand in cases of grievous hurt.

Newly proposed proviso in Section 165(1) states that acceptance of payment of compensation under Section 164 will result in lapse of claim petition. Therefore, the maximum amount a claimant can get on no-fault basis is Rupees 5 lakhs in case of death and rupees two and a half lakhs in cases of grievous hurt.

Time-limit of six months for filing claim

Sub-section(3) proposed to be added to Section 166 states that the claim petition has to be filed within six months of the date of accident. In the original Act passed in 1988, there was a similar provision. But the said provision fixing time limit was deleted as per 1994 amendment. Therefore, a claim could have been filed at any time, without any limitation. Now, that provision has been brought back.

Survival of claim to the estate of claimant after his death

As per the present law, a claim for personal injury would abate on the death of the claimant, and would not survive to his estate, due to the operation of Section 306 of the Indian Succession Act. The claim would survive to the estate only if death had nexus with the injuries, and only in such cases the legal heirs would be entitled to come on record and continue with the prosecution of the claim.

The amendment remedies that situation, bv incorporation a new sub-section, Section 166(5), with a non-obstante clause which says that the right of a person to claim compensation for injury in an accident shall, upon the death of the person injured, survive to his legal representatives, irrespective of whether the cause of death is relatable to or had any nexus with the injury or not.

Hit and Run Scheme

The compensation payable for victims in 'hit and run' out of the scheme fund under Section 161 has been enhanced to Rs. 2 lakhs in case of death, and Rs. 50,000/- in case of bodily injury, from Rs.25,000/- and Rs.12,500/- respectively.

Motor Vehicle Accident Fund

The Bill seeks to introduce a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund under Section 164B, which is to be augmented by a special tax or cess. The Fund is to be utilized for giving immediate relief to victims of motor accidents, and also hit and run cases. The compensation paid out of the fund shall be deductible from the compensation which the victim may get in future from the Tribunal.

National Transportation Policy

Newly introduced Section 66A empowers the Central Government to develop a "National Transportation Policy", for establishing a framework for grant of transport permits. The Section directs the Central Government to consult the State Governments before formulation of policy.

Power of Central Government to frame schemes for inter-state permits

Newly proposed Section 88A empowers the Central Government to make schemes for national, multi-modal and inter-state transportation of goods or passengers. As per the present Act, the power to make scheme for inter-state transportation of goods or passengers is an exclusive domain of the states. This Section further provides that in the event of any repugnancy between the schemes made by the Central Government and schemes made by two or more States , the schemes made by Central Government will prevail.

Road Safety Board

Road Safety Board created as per Section 215D for advising on matters relating to road safety.

Stringent Penalties for Road Traffic Violations

The Bill seeks to enhance the penalties for road traffic violations. The proposed changes are tabled below :


Section

Old Provision / Penalty

New Provision / Minimum Penalties

177

General

Rs 100

Rs 500

New 177A

Rules of road regulation violation

Rs 100

Rs 500

178

Travel without ticket

RS 200

Rs 500

179

Disobedience of orders of authorities

Rs 500

Rs 2000

180

Unautorized use of vehicles without licence

Rs 1000

Rs 5000

181

Driving without licence

Rs 500

Rs 5000

182

Driving despite disqualification

Rs 500

Rs 10,000

182 B

Oversize vehicles

New

Rs 5000

183

Over speeding

Rs 400

Rs 1000 for LMV

Rs 2000 for Medium passenger vehicle

184

Dangerous driving penalty

Rs 1000

Upto Rs 5000

185

Drunken driving

Rs 2000

Rs 10,000

189

Speeding / Racing

Rs 500

Rs 5,000

192 A

Vehicle without permit

upto Rs 5000

Upto Rs 10,000

193

Aggregators (violations oflicencing conditions)

New

Rs 25,000 to

Rs 1,00,000

194

Overloading

Rs 2000 and

Rs 1000 per extra tonne

Rs 20,000 and

Rs 2000 per extra tonne

194 A

Overloading of passengers

Rs 1000 per extra passenger

194 B

Seat belt

Rs 100

Rs 1000

194 C

Overloading of two wheelers

Rs 100

Rs 2000, Disqualification for 3 months for licence

194 D

Helmets

Rs 100

Rs 1000 Disqualification for 3 months for licence

194 E

Not providing way for emergency vehicles

New

Rs 10,000

196

Driving Without Insurance

RS 1000

Rs 2000

199

Offences by Juveniles

New

Guardian / owner shall be deemed to be guilty. Rs 25,000 with 3 yrs imprisonment. For Juvenile to be tried under JJ Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle to be cancelled

206

Power of Officers to impound documents

Suspension of driving licenses u/s 183, 184, 185, 189, 190, 194C, 194D, 194E

210 B

Offences committed by enforcing authorities

Twice the penalty under the relevant section

Concerns raised by opposition

The passing of the Bill had hit a roadblock in the Rajya Sabha during the last session, after opposition members raised concerns over the provisions in the amendment affecting the power of State Governments in granting permits, licenses etc. A detailed account of the opposition concerns may be read here.

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