The states cannot reduce fines for traffic violations below the minimum amount reported in the modified MV Act: General Attoney

NEW DELHI: State governments cannot reduce fines for traffic violations below what has been reported as a minimum amount in the recently amended Motor Vehicles Act, said the country's top official. Attorney General K K Venugopal also said that the Center has the right to issue instructions to the states to implement the law passed by Parliament.

The Ministry of Road and Highway Transportation in September sought legal opinion through the Ministry of Law shortly after some of the state governments even reduced fines for compound crimes below the minimum penalties, as specified in the Law of Motor Vehicles. The amended law became effective as of September 1.

According to the law, there are 24 crimes that can be aggravated, which means that in such cases an offender can pay the fine on the spot and does not need to visit a court. Such offenses include driving without wearing a helmet and seat belt, driving an uninsured vehicle, blocking the shape of emergency vehicles and competing. Section 200 of the amended law empowers states to notify the exact fine where the central law has established a minimum and maximum fine or penalty.

The sources said that Venugopal was of the opinion that, since the modified MV Law is a parliamentary legislation, the states cannot pass any law or issue an executive order to fix the penalty below the legal provision of the central law without the consent of the President. from India

As to whether states can set aside the implementation of the central law, the GA has said under Article 256 of the Constitution that the central government can issue instructions to the states to follow the norm, the sources said. TOI learned that AG also opined that disobedience to the management of the Center may even attract actions under Article-356, which will mean that the state government will have to implicitly comply with the central law.

Shortly after the Center notified almost 60 sections of the MV Act, Gujarat was the first state to breach the lower limit of fine prescribed in the central law and had even altered the fines, which the Law does not allow. Soon some other states had followed suit.

Central government officials had claimed that the states would have to comply with the rule, since Article 254 of the Constitution says that if there is a point of dispute between the Center and the state over a provision of law that falls on the Concurring List , then the central law will prevail. Gujarat had even notified different penalties for non-cumulative crimes, which requires the offender to visit the court to pay the fine.

So far only eight states - Assam, Gujarat, Kerala, Uttarakhand and - have notified the Motor Vehicles Act.

It can be remembered that Gujarat has set a fine of 500 rupees for not wearing a helmet, while the MV Law has established a minimum fine of 1,000 rupees for this crime. Similar changes have been made to avoid wearing seat belts.