Majority of states on board over new Motor Vehicle Act: Gadkari

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday asserted that majority of the states are on board with regard to the new motor law and it is well within their right to make changes in penalties where a range of fines for traffic violations has been fixed.

The Road Transport and Highways Minister said that by and large people have welcomed the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act and he is hopeful of reduction in the number of deaths related to road accidents.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which provides for heavy penalties for traffic rule violations, came into force from September 1. However, some states reduced the penalties after reports of hefty fines by the police for breaking traffic rules hit the headlines.

It is a wrong "propaganda that states are opposing it...Barring one or two states there are no objections by the majority of states.... I had a talk with the Chief Ministers of the States... Secretaries have talked to Chief Secretaries," Gadkari said on the sidelines of an event adding that states have rights for variation of fines under the new Act where a range has been fixed for fines.

"This is in the concurrent list...if fine is fixed in the range of Rs 500 to Rs 5,000, states have the right for variation ... They can fix it Rs 600 or Rs 4,000. We have given them rights ... There is no problem," the minister said.

Moreover, he said that the fines accrue to the kitty of state governments and the Centre has nothing to do with it.

The minister said that there was neither respect nor any fear of the law in a country which sees death of 1.5 lakh people annually in road accidents with 65 per cent in the age bracket of 18 to 35 years.

"The fines were not revised for the last 30 years ... Fine is given to states not Centre - it is not an issue to raise revenue," he stressed and added that implementation of the new Act is bound to reduce accidents.