Danger on wheels: The threat of unregistered vehicles

Danger on wheels: The threat of unregistered vehicles

Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2016-07-21 09:44 Motor vehicles of all types are licensed, accounted and regulated in the country through the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1914. This act was amended in 1920 and again in 1924 and finally replaced by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, which came into force in 1940. After Independence, various committees, such as the National Transport Policy Committee, National Police Commission, Road Safety Committee, Low Powered Two–Wheelers Committee and the Law Commission went into different aspects of road transport and recommended updating, simplification and rationalisation of this law. As several MPs  urged  for a comprehensive  review  of  the  Motor  Vehicles  Act, 1939,  a working group was constituted  in  January 1984 to review all the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. Some of the issues that the group looked into were: (a) The increasing number of both commercial vehicles and personal vehicles in the country. (b) The need for encouraging adoption of higher technology in automotive sector. (c) Greater flow of passenger and freight with the least impediments so that islands of isolation are not created leading to regional or local imbalances. (d) Concern for road safety standards, pollution-control measures, standards for transportation of hazardous and explosive materials. (e) Simplification of procedure and policy liberalisation for private sector operations in the road transport field.  (f) Need for effective ways of tracking down traffic offenders. To address all these relevant issues plaguing the country, the MV Act of 1939 was duly amended in 1988 by the Parliament. Off late, it has been observed that many vehicles are plying in Bengaluru with temporary registration numbers or with a sticker that says “Registration Applied For”, thus defeating the very purpose of registration. These vehicles cannot be identified and brought to book in case of a traffic offence. It is a matter of concern since road accidents are on the rise due to incidents of road rage and reckless driving on roads. It is well-known that road accidents kill more people than cancer in India. Even though section 43 of MV Act allows for temporary registration in the interest of public, it is desirable that such a practice is curbed and the process of issuing permanent registration certificates must be expedited. Section 39 of Chapter IV of MV Act 1988 clearly states that no person shall drive any motor vehicle and no owner of a motor vehicle shall cause or permit the vehicle to be driven in any public place or in any other place unless the vehicle is registered (this does not apply to the motor vehicles in possession of dealers who should prominently disclose the address). Section 40 of MV Act makes it abundantly clear that every owner of a motor vehicle shall cause the vehicle to be registered by a registering authority in whose jurisdiction he has the residence or place of business where the vehicle is normally kept. Section 192 lays down the penalties for using vehicle without registration. It states that whoever  drives  a  motor  vehicle  or  causes  or  allows  a  motor  vehicle  to  be  used  in  contravention  of  the  provisions  of  section  39  shall  be  punishable  for  the  first  offence  with  a  fine  which  may  extend  to  five  thousand  rupees  but  shall  not  be  less  than  two  thousand  rupees  for  a  second  or  subsequent  offence  with  imprisonment  which  may  extend  to  one  year  or  with  fine  which  may  extend  to  ten  thousand  rupees  but  shall  not  be  less  than  five  thousand  rupees  or  with  both.  When the law is so stringent and clear, why are so many unregistered vehicles plying on roads?  It becomes very difficult for the public and law enforcement agencies to identify the owners of such vehicles in case of traffic incidents/accidents including hit and runs. Such an illegal practice defeats the very purpose of enacting the MV Act 1988. Time has come to arrest this trend of allowing vehicles on roads in contravention of the MV Act 1988. An enquiry has to be ordered to ascertain possible role of the RTAs involved in such illegal activity along with the role of vehicle dealers. The authorities concerned should initiate immediate action to stop vehicles without registration from plying on roads. Author: Born on 3 Dec 1954 at Sringeri in Chikmagalur District, Karnataka Wg Cdr GB Athri (Retd) joined the Indian Air Force as a commissioned officer in 1976. He served the IAF with distinction, for over 25 years at various stations, all over India including the border posts. Currently he is an RTI activist who has been unearthing scams and corruption at high places.