Hefty fines for traffic offenders: RS clears Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill

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The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday cleared, with some riders, the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, which proposes to impose hefty fines on offenders and weed out corruption by bringing in technology.

The passage of the Bill can be termed as a victory for Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was instrumental behind bringing in a new legislation on road safety. He had first promised amendments to the MV Act, 1988, in May 2014, when he took charge as the Union road transport and highways minister in the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

After the passage of the Bill in the Upper House of Parliament, he said: “The much-needed amendments will improve road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, strengthen rural transport, public transport and last-mile connectivity through automation, computerisation and online services.” He added that the Bill would provide an efficient, safe and corruption-free transport system in the country.

The Bill has been passed with three government amendments and will need to go back to the Lok Sabha, which had already passed the Bill on July 23, 2019.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is based on the recommendations of a group of state transport ministers constituted by the Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways to address the issue of road safety and to improve the facilitation of citizens while dealing with transport departments.

The group, headed by Yoonus Khan, the then transport minister of Rajasthan, had 18 state transport ministers from different political parties as members.

On the basis of recommendations of the group and other pressing requirements, the road transport & highways ministry introduced the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016. This, along with amendments, was passed by Lok Sabha on April 10, 2017. The Bill as passed by the Lok Sabha was introduced in the Rajya Sabha and referred to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha on August 8, 2017. The committee presented its report to Parliament on December 22, 2017. The Bill, pending in the Rajya Sabha, had lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.

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