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Karnataka, Gujarat dilute new traffic laws

September 13, 2019

Just says after the Centre came up with tough fines for traffic offenders under an amended law, many states have decided to slash the fines in their jurisdictions on humanitarian grounds. Most of these states are BJP-ruled states.

Gujarat was the first to reduce the fines prescribed under the amended Motor Vehicles Act making it as low as 10% of the actual amount for some offences. Other BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka came up with similar announcements as well saying that is the Centre does not make drastic changes in the penalties, they will. In Maharashtra the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government has called the new penalties "exorbitant" and stayed its implementation.

Opposition-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi have also said they will take similar steps and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has completely rejected any possibility of her states complying.

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari admitted that states have the right to slash fines but said they would be responsible for the consequences.

To those states who are refusing to enforce the fines, isn't life more important than money? This was done to save lives. People need to have a fear of law. Why was the death penalty for rape after the Nirbhaya case? To create a fear of the law. - Nitin Gadkari, Union Road Transport Minister

When asked if he could force states to fall in line, Gadkari said, "Those who want to enforce it can do it. Those who don't, need not. It's time that the country thinks about saving lives...1,50,000 people get killed on the roads in a year and 65 per cent of them are 18-35 years old. They haven't been killed in terror strikes or riots.. This (the new law), was done to save lives. That is my first objective, but I need the cooperation of state governments. This should be above parties and state governments."

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