Tyranny of the new Motor Vehicles Act

The new Motor vehicle (MVA) act enacted from September 1 is one of the most tyrannical laws implemented in India. Its hall mark is its outrageous penalties that are unmatched even in the most advanced countries in the world with excellent traffic rule compliance.

Average traffic fines in USA are around $150 while the average income in USA is about $2700 per month. This makes the Fine to Income ratio about 5 percent in USA. The new MVA has raised the average penalties above Rs. 2000/-. Per capita income of Indians is about Rs. 10000/- per month.  So the fine to income ratio is about  20 percent in India.

Even after public outcry about such outrageous penalties, central government with a brute majority in parliament seems to be failing to respond on this matter. With a slumping growth rate, if the government thinks that it can garner more money by looting public through such tyrannical rules, I am afraid this has never succeed in history anywhere. Increased taxation and penalties lead to squeeze in economy. In this case, lesser vehicles on road and lesser sales of fuel will lead to even further slowdown in the economy. The public fights between police and citizens is visible across TV screens on daily basis.  Roads are appearing like battlefields. Such tensions between law enforcement and citizens will lead to social dissensions and further loss of faith in the system. Apart from this, such high penalties will promote bribery and corrupt arrangements between traffic police and citizens.

Sane rule of jurisprudence says that the punishment should be proportionate to the offence. Increasing penalties do work, but to what extent? Has the government thought of the rationale behind this? Why not give capital punishment for driving without licence? That might work even better!

Punishing the citizens is Okay but what about the punishment for the government? Where is the punishment for bad roads? Where is the punishment for children falling into manholes? No street lights? Why should only citizens be punished!

2 Replies to “Tyranny of the new Motor Vehicles Act”

  1. You are absolutely right Ashish. Neither does India have the infrastructure nor income per capital to make such fines feasible. Hope better sense prevails.

  2. Very much agreed especially with the question “Where is the punishment for bad roads?”.

    Excepts for cases with catastrophic consequences like overloaded trucks, or drunken drivers, such heavy penalties cannot be justified. Indian government should be sensitive regarding the degree of such penalties that is creating a fear. Bribery to traffic policemen could also increase as the penalty gets heavier, in which case the money would never reach the government.

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