New Delhi: More and more states on Wednesday, spoke out against hefty fines prescribed for violations of various traffic rules under the newly amended Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019, even as Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari strongly defended it.
Governments of BJP-ruled states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka are among those to have objected to the Act.
Calling fines under the Act ‘too harsh’, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that she will not implement the new law under the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019 as it is a ‘burden’ on people.
The Delhi government, meanwhile, has said that it will take a ‘conscious call’ on reducing the fines.
On Tuesday, BJP-ruled Gujarat slashed the amount of fine to be paid under the Act for various violations. Odisha, meanwhile, on September 9 decided to relax the implementation of the new traffic rules for three months.
Kerala has sought a report from its Transport and Law departments. Diwajkar Raote, the Transport Minister of another BJP state, Maharashtra, has written a letter to the Centre expressing ‘unhappiness’ over steep fines.
The Act, which was implemented from September 1, has led to people being imposed with bizarre fines. On Tuesday, a truck driver from Rajasthan paid a fine of Rs 1.4 lakh for overloading his vehicle, on September 5.
An auto driver from Odisha was fined a whopping Rs 86,500 for violating several traffic rules.
Responding to criticism by the Opposition, Nitin Gadkari said that the idea behind the Act was to ‘save lives’. Defending it, he said, “To those states who are refusing to enforce the fines, isn’t life more important than money? That is the spirit behind this law. It is not the intention of the government to increase fines to get revenue for the government.”
He added, “We are implementing this to create fear & respect for the law. It is not a revenue making a proposal but a proposal to save the lives of the people. We are losing 2% GDP due to road accidents.”
He, however, added that states were free to reduce the traffic fines if they so wished.