Amended Motor Vehicles Act Is a Money Extortion Tool for Police

There are a few clarifications that need to be addressed by the government before asking states to adopt the Act.

2 min read
Traffic fines in India have increased manifold since 1 September 2019.

The recent amendments made by the Union Government with respect to the Motor Vehicles Act is a clear absurdity. It lacks the effective deliberations and wider consultations in order to make an effective policy.

Referring to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that the MV Act ’88 was outdated and no longer useful to the current scenario. But there arises a contradiction with his statement referring to the old one. The Union Government has, however, taken the same approach with the imposition of hefty penalties even after the results/records stated that penalties did not help in anyway in desired road safety and management.

There are a few clarifications that need to be addressed by the Union Government before asking the state governments to adopt the Act. On behalf of tax payers and citizens of this country I would like to highlight the following apprehensions:

  • For any policy development there needs to be a lot of deliberations and wider consultations from different approaches as each state has its own issues. It is unfortunate that the centre has not involved state governments and is now asking them to adopt the same with a dictator-like approach.
  • India neither has sufficient technology nor the human resources to tackle the traffic management across the country. In such a scenario, how would the government ensure that all the violations are recorded thoroughly and penalties are accounted for in a transparent manner?
  • What is the specific action plan of the government on how these intended hefty penalties are to be spent? Citizens always complain about bad roads and poor infrastructure.
  • How will this new Act and imposition of heavy penalties help to stop the prevailing deep-rooted corruption and the harassment of ground level authorities?
  • As many are aware, some private transporters operate in mafia mode above any traffic rules and administration. How is this going to be fixed?
  • Most of the state-run road transport corporation vehicles are poorly maintained and have a record of violations. How will the government fix this?
  • There is corruption at many Regional Transport Offices (RTOs). Without correcting the basic problem, how does the government justify imposing huge penalties on citizens for not having a licence?
  • What is the assurance to citizens that these increased penalties will ensure zero corruption and there will be high accountability and transparency in RTOs?
  • In most cities there are no proper parking facilities, which is leading to severe traffic congestion due to incorrect parking. How will these penalties help to solve the issue?

Look for better ways of traffic management like creating effective public transportation systems, providing required traffic facilities, bringing accountability and transparency in the RTOs and traffic police departments and including citizens in the traffic ecosystem.

The more you penalise drivers, the more is the scope for corruption and harassment on roads. If the government believes that just by raising the penalties it can fix the problem, then it is absolutely foolish.

(Shashidhar Vuppala is a socio-political activist based out of Hyderabad.)

(Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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