By Rounak Mohapatra
The motor vehicle act has gone through many changes from the year of 1914 to the new amendment law of motor vehicles act which changed its structure in more than hundred years that took place in 2019.
The motor vehicle amendment act made the citizens of the country to rethink the type of punishment the state is imposing for infringing the law. The Indian judiciary has throughout the time evolved from retributive theory of punishment to the reformative theory of punishment, where the law makers believed that the social animals or intellectual beings which exist in the society are humans and need to be treated as human. This also helps us to draw an inference that the earlier society believed in the concept of “an eye for an eye” which meant that if a man did grievous injury to a person, the person being so hurt if asks for justice then the offender who did such crime had to be punished by the state by giving him such injury. This made the state less inhuman as the state did not follow the other methods of punishment which could be referred to as a deterrent theory.
The deterrent theory was simple yet brutal. The degree of injury through the offence had a say in determining the punishment but wasn’t the substantial method of determining what and how much punishment is to be given. This theory of punishment believed in causing in- jury to the offender or punishing the offender with such a punishment which serves as a les- son to the other offenders. Which implies that the states following this theory believed that causing a sense of fear in the mind of offenders would help the nation in curbing the rate of crime, however it failed to realize that the major essence of any crime committed by the of- fender is his guilty mind or his intention of doing such crime having the knowledge that this act that he is doing is a breach of law. The deterrent theory did not give much importance in knowing if the offender had the intention and knowledge and it focused only on the aspect that there was a crime or offence committed and the person committing such offence had to be punishment which should serve as a lesson.
The new amendment act is somehow deviating from the theory that the state believed, that is the switch from reformative theory to deterrent theory when the motor vehicle act is in ques- tion. This could be a result for the report published by the WHO in which India being ranked one when it came to the occurrences of road accidents. According to the ministry of Road transport and highways there were reportedly 5 lakh road accidents in which 1.5 lakh people were killed. This was a major concern for the state as it becomes the duty of the state to safe- guard the basic rights of its citizens. So, the state implemented the amendment act. The state somehow forgot to take into consideration that the nation is economically developing and has major sector of its citizens living below poverty line, people losing jobs and some staying unemployed since a long period of time. In this situation of the nation if the fines are in some cases 10 times than that of the punishment existed then it would bleed the nation dry. With the heavy imposition of taxes by the government through various means and the cost of living increasing this certain amendment act could be the reason or serve as a burden on the pockets of the citizens. The amendment bill will serve as a cautious measure in depleting the deaths and thus ensuring lives of people, it will also reduce the negligent act of the drivers. The major issue that the govt might face here is that the nation ranks at 44th position when it comes to poverty so recovery of such heavy number of fines will be a tough job for the nation to face. This means the government could be spending more on recovery of such amounts through court procedures than actually receiving the amounts. India being amongst the top countries when it comes to corruption, can the major intention of the law makers be fulfilled? The offenders should be punished but there should be a consideration on who is committing the crime when it comes to financial status, but then if this consideration is taken into concern then it will infringe the right to equality under article 14 of the Indian constitution which also states that the nation should treat every citizen equally.
The only way out that the nation could have used is a reduced method of or amount of punishment so that it is a pocket pinch and not a pocket draining mechanism. The deaths caused due to negligence while driving is highly condemned but the punishments should not be such that people for committing an offence be punished inhumanly and with cruelty. In the era where money speaks, the nation needs to understand that lives have value, they add value to the nation and to their families, the lives of the offenders are also important.
That people for committing an offence be punished inhumanly and with cruelty. In the era where money speaks, the nation needs to understand that lives have value, they add value to the nation and to their families, the lives of the offenders are also important.
The new Bill has increases fines for several offence under the Act.
- Fine for Drink and Driving: Now the fine is increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 along with imprisonment of 6 months. On the repetition of this act fine would be Rs. 15,000.
- Rash driving will cost fine of Rs. 5000 earlier it was Rs.1000.
- Driving without driving lisence will be fined Rs 5000 instead of 500 earlier.
- Offence by Juveniles is a new category introduced. Now Guardian of the Juve- nile / owner of the vehicle shall be fined Rs. 25,000 with 3 yrs imprisonment. For Juvenile to be tried under Juveniles Justice Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle shall be cancelled.
- If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to Rs 100 crore, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both.
- If a contractor fails to comply with road design standards, the penalty will be up to Rs.1 lac.
- Under section 196 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 2019 driving without Insurance will be fined Rs 2000.
- Under the section 194 D of the act; riding without Helmets will be fined to Rs 1000 and disqualification for 3 months for licence.
- Under section 194B of the Act; driving without seat belt will cost Rs. 1000.
- Speeding / Racing will be fined Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 500 earlier.
- Under section 194 E of the Act; not providing way for emergency vehicles will cost Rs 10,000.