Maharashtra: Be Ready To Pay More Fines For Traffic Rule Violations With Implementation of Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 

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Pune, January 15, 2021: Maharashtra, with second highest fatalities in the country, is one of the few states yet to adopt provisions from the Amendment Act more than a year and a half after fines were revised. Now the Transport Department of Maharashtra Government has taken a decision to issue compounding notification. 

Parisar, a non-profit organization working on road safety, has welcomed the move by the Transport Department to finally implement provisions of Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019. 

It has been 18 months since the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act was passed and while most other states have already issued the compounding notification, Maharashtra, which has the second-highest road crash fatalities in the country, has not issued a notification in this regard. The amendment Act added several new sections dealing with penalties for non-use of helmets and seatbelts, triple seat riding, failure to allow passage to emergency vehicles and use of horns in silence zones. It also increased penalties across the board.

According to Section 200 of the Motor Vehicles Act, States are empowered to prescribe spot penalties for traffic violations, referred to as compounding of the offence. The compounding notification, last issued by the State in 2016, provides a list of offences that allow an offender to pay the fine on the spot to the designated police officer at the scene.

Ranjit Gadgil, Program Director, Parisar, said “without an updated Section 200 notification the new sections added to the Act cannot be legally challaned on the road and violators must be given a court summons. This makes on-street enforcement impossible.”

Parisar, along with many other NGOs belonging to the Road Safety Network had written letters to the Transport Minister urging him to issue the notification.

Sandeep Gaikwad, Road Safety Coordinator at Parisar said “Post COVID-19 lockdown we have witnessed an expected increase in road crash fatalities. Updating the fine amounts, which were last set in 1988 is absolutely needed to help enforcement officials and provide an effective deterrent. Those who obey traffic rules have no need to fear the increase in penalties.” 

Why the Compounding notification u/s 200 of the Motor Vehicles Act is required to be re-notified

The Compounding notification dt 4 Aug 2016 needs to be updated to reflect increase in penalties in the parent act.

It also suffers from these legal issues:

  1. Due to exclusion of motor cycle from punishment clause of section 183 (“Driving at excessive speed, etc.”) this needs to be added under clause 177 of the notification and removed from clause 183(1).
  2. Now only section 184 Explanation (c) “use of handheld communication devices while driving” is compoundable. All other offences, such as jumping a red light, violating a stop sign, illegal overtaking, driving against authorized flow of traffic, are non-compoundable. The notification needs to be updated accordingly.
  3. Earlier, no penalty was specified for the following offences and were covered by clause 177 of the notification, under “(c) other offence excluding above Rs. 200.”, 
    1. Carriage of excess passengers
    2. Use of safety belts and the seating of children
    3. Penalty for violation of safety measures for motor cycle drivers and pillion riders
    4. Penalty for not wearing protective headgear
    5. Failure to allow free passage to emergency vehicles
    6. Use of horns and silence zones

for which new sections 194A-F have been added to the parent act. Hence, they cannot be compounded unless they are added to the notification.

177. General provision for punishment of offences. – Whoever contravenes any provision of this Act or of any rule, regulation or notification made thereunder shall, if no penalty is provided for the offence, be punishable for the first offence, with fine which may extend to [five hundred rupees], and for any second or subsequent offence with fine which may extend to [one thousand and five hundred rupees].

[177A. Penalty for contravention of regulations under section 118. – Whoever contravenes the regulations made under section 118, shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than five hundred rupees, but may extend to one thousand rupees.]

200. Composition of certain offences. – (1) Any offence whether committed before or after the commencement of this Act [punishable under section 177, section 178, section 179, section 180, section 181, section 182, sub-section (1) or sub-section (3) or sub-section (4) of section 182A, section 182B, sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 183, section 184 only to the extent of use of handheld communication devices, section 186, section 189, sub-section (2) of section 190, section 192, section 192A, section 194, section 194A, section 194B, section 194C, section 194D, section 194E, section 194F, section 196, section 198,], may either before or after the institution of the prosecution, be compounded by such officers or authorities and for such amount as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.