The youth wing of the Congress party on Wednesday held a massive protest against the hefty penalties imposed for violations under the amended provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act. The protest was held outside the residence of Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari at 2, Motilal Nehru Place. The amended Motor Vehicle Act, which came into effect on September 1, 2019, has stormed into a controversy after several states accused the centre of burdening the common citizens with heavy fines.
#WATCH Delhi: Indian Youth Congress (IYC) holds protest outside the residence of Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, against the amended provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act. pic.twitter.com/OJawhb1OHL
— ANI (@ANI) September 11, 2019
Earlier in the day, Gadkari has said that to implement the new motor vehicles law was in the concurrent list and the states were free to make their own decision. However, the Union Minister reiterated that the intent of heavy fines was not to create additional revenue but to prevent accidents and save lives by acting as a deterrent. The Union minister further added that the penalties that were fixed three decades ago would also need to be updated according to the present scenario.
“This isn’t a revenue income scheme, are you not worried about the deaths of 1,50,000 people? If the state governments want to reduce this, is it not true that people neither recognise law nor have fear of it,” ANI quoted Gadkari as saying.
In Kerala, the state Transport Minister AK Saseendran has asked the Transport Secretary to submit a report by September 16, 2019, on what the government can do as far the new fines under the Motor Vehicle Act are concerned. Saseendran has also called a meeting of the Law Secretary, Transport Secretary and Transport Commissioner on Monday.
Several states such as Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal, Puducherry and Telangana have not implemented the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act so far. BJP-ruled Gujarat has already gone ahead and announced up to 90% relief in the penalties imposed through amended provisions.
In Delhi, the AAP government has announced of providing respite to people from hiked penalties and added that a conscious decision will be taken on it. Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said that the government is taking feedback from all stakeholders and looking at how other states are moving on it.