Amid public outcry over new provisions in the new Motor Vehicles Act, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said hefty fines were not imposed to generate revenue for the government but to save lives of the people.
“We are implementing this to create respect and fear for the law so none can do such type of thing. That is the reason behind it. If you obey the law, you don’t have to give any fine. 30 years before, the fine was 100 rupees. Now what is the value of Rs 100 today?” he told sources.
“The state government can decide on fines. There is no problem. But this is not a revenue earning proposal. This is for saving lives of people.
“We are losing 2 per cent of GDP due to road accidents. It is not the responsibility of the government to save the lives of the people? That is the spirit behind the law. It was not the intention of the government to increase fine to get revenue for the government,” the minister added.
Gadkari’s statement came after two Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states announced drastic cuts in the penalties for traffic violations.
A day after the Gujarat government decided to cut the fines under the amended Motor Vehicles (MV) Act, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday said the same will be implemented in the state also.
The BJP-ruled Gujarat government had announced a drastic cut even as the Centre was justifying the steep fine amounts under the amended MV Act.
In some cases the reduction in Gujarat is as steep as Rs 1,000 from Rs 10,000.
“Regarding the cut in the penalties for violation of traffic rules under motor vehicle act, we will get the orders of the Gujarat government. I have instructed our officials that we will follow that order here also. Mostly in about two-three days like in Gujarat, here also we will try to cut the penalties that are high,” Yediyurappa said.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru after a review meeting, he said, “what Gujarat has done, it has come in papers. I will get that order copy and do it. I will see to it that it (penalty) is not too heavy.”
After the heavy fines introduced in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019, hefty challans for traffic rules violations by the police have hit the headlines.
Advocating the hefty fines levied as per the amended bill for traffic violations, Gadkari said, “Some may also argue that we have increased the death penalty for rape of a minor girl. Some may say it is very strong but why are we implementing it then? Because we want to create fear in them about the law.
“If you obey law you don’t have to pay a penalty. It’s as simple as that.”
The minister took pains to explain the process of what went in to make the bill possible and how it was supported by various political parties.
“When we considered this bill, it was done by a committee that had studied laws of the UK, the US and Canada,” he said.
Defending the cases of huge amounts of challans being issued, Gadkari accused the ‘microscopic’ media of highlighting these cases without going into the merits of the cases.
“You spoke about the truck case, the driver didn’t have anything, no driving license nothing. It was overloaded, the driver was drunk. It could have killed people. Should he not be fined?” asked the minister.