[Part-1] Recent major changes in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

The Ministry of Law and Justice on 9thAugust 2019, notified the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 to further amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

Amendments

Section 2:

The clause (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which defined “area” has been substituted by  new clauses namely:

(1) “adapted vehicle”: It has been defined as “a motor vehicle either specially designed and constructed, or to which alterations have been made under sub-section (2) of section 52, for the use of a person suffering from any physical defect or disability, and used solely by or for such person”

(1A) “aggregator”: It has been defined as“means a digital intermediary or market place for a passenger to connect with a driver for the purpose of transportation”

(1B) “area”, in relation to any provision of the Act, has been defined as “such area as the State Government may, having regard to the requirements of that provision, specify by notification in the Official Gazette”

After clause (4), a new clause has been inserted, namely: (4A) “community service” which has been defined as “an unpaid work which a person is required to perform as a punishment for an offence committed under this Act”

After clause (9), a new clause has been inserted, namely: (9A) “driver refresher training course” which has been defined as “the course referred to in sub-section (2A) of section 19”

After clause (12), a new clause has been inserted, namely: (12A) “golden hour” which has been defined as “the time period lasting one hour following a traumatic injury during which there is highest likelihood of preventing death by providing prompt medical care”

Clause (18) of Section 2 has been omitted

In clause (24)of Section 2, for the words “invalid carriage”, the words “adapted vehicle” have been substituted

In clause (26)of Section 2, for the words “invalid carriage”, the words “adapted vehicle” have been substituted;

After clause (38) of Section 2, the following clause has been inserted, namely: (38A) “scheme” which has been defined as “a scheme framed under this Act”

After clause (42), a new clause has bene inserted, namely: (42A) “testing agency” which has been defined as “any entity designated as a testing agency under section 110B”

In clause (49), after the word “rests”, the words “or moves” have been inserted.

New Section – Section 2B “Promotion of innovation“

As per this newly inserted section, in order to promote innovation, research and development in the fields of vehicular engineering, mechanically propelled vehicles and transportation in general, the Central Government, may exempt certain types of mechanically propelled vehicles from the application of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Amendment to Section 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Learner’s license 

Now, an eligible person can apply for a learner’s license in any of the licensing authority in the state. Also, for applying the same, a provision has been made for submitting the fee and other requisites through electronic means. Also a provision for issuance of a learner’s licence in electronic form has been made. Furthermore, the licensing authority can now, before issuing the license, verify the identity of the applicant in such manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

Amendment to Section 9 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Driving license

Now, an eligible person can apply for a driving license in any of the licensing authority in the state. Also, the condition of “having such minimum educational qualification as may be prescribed by the Central Government” for obtaining a license to drive a transport vehicle has been removed. Also, after this amendment, where the applicant does not pass the driving test even after three appearances, in addition to his disqualification to re-appear for such test before the expiry of a period of sixty days from the date of last such test, he shall also be required to complete a remedial driver training course from any school or establishment under section 12.

Amendment to Section 11 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Additions to licenses

After this amendment, for any addition of class or description of motor vehicles to the licence, the license holder may apply to any licensing authority in the state. However, the licensing authority may, before issuing the license verify the identity of the applicant in such manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

Amendment to Section 12 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Driving Schools

After this amendment, notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision, where any driving school or establishment has been accredited by a body notified by the Central Government under any other law for the time being in force, any person who has successfully completed a training module at such school or establishment covering a particular type of motor vehicle shall be eligible to obtain a driving licence for such type of motor vehicle. The curriculum of the training module and the remedial driver training course referred to Section 9 shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government and that Government may make rules for the regulation of such schools or establishments.

Amendment to Section 14 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Term of Validity of Licenses

After this amendment, a driving licence to drive a transport vehicle, issued or renewed under this Act shall now be effective for 5 years. Also, a licence to drive a transport vehicle carrying goods of dangerous or hazardous nature shall now be effective for a period of 3 years and renewal thereof shall be subject to such conditions as the Central Government may prescribe.

Furthermore, after this amendment, a license to drive any vehicle other than a transport vehicle, subject to such conditions as the Central Government may prescribe:

Shall be effective until the date on which the license holder attains the age of forty years, if the license holder has not attained the age of thirty years on the date of issue or, renewal of the license.

Shall be effective for a period of 10 years, if the license holder has attained the age of thirty years but has not attained the age of fifty years on the date of issue or, renewal of the license.

Shall be effective for a period of 5 years, if the license holder has attained the age of fifty years on the date of issue or, renewal of the license.

Also, earlier, every driving licence, notwithstanding its expiry, continued to be effective for a period of thirty days from such expiry. But after this amendment, it will not be valid after expiry.

Amendment to Section 15 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Renewal of driving license

After this amendment, in any case where the application for the renewal of a licence is made either one year prior to date of its expiry or within one year after the date of its expiry, the driving licence shall be renewed with effect from the date of its renewal.Furthermore, from now on, if the application is made one year after the driving licence has ceased to be effective, the renewal shall be refused, unless the applicant undergoes and passes to the authority’s satisfaction the test of competence to drive referred to in sub-section (3) of section 9.

Amendment to Section 19 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Power of licensing authority to disqualify from holding a driving licence or revoke such licence

If a police officer or other person authorised in this behalf by the State Government has seized the driving licence held by such driver and forwarded it to the licensing authority for disqualification or revocation proceedings under section 19 due to the reason of over speeding, driving dangerously, drunk driving, racing, using vehicle in unsafe condition, violation of safety measures for motor cycle drivers and pillion riders,not wearing protective headgear while on motorcycle or not allowing free passage to emergency vehicles. Then, in such a casethe licensing authority, if satisfied after giving the holder of the driving licence an opportunity of being heard, may either discharge the holder of a driving licence or, it may for detailed reasons recorded in writing, make an order disqualifying such person from holding or obtaining any licence to drive all or any class or description of vehicles specified in the licence

(a) for a first offence, for a period of three months;

(b) for a second or subsequent offence, with revocation of the driving licence of such person:

Also, where a driving licence is revoked under this section, the name of the holder of such driving licence may be placed in the public domain in such manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government. Furthermore, it has been provided that the driving licence shall be returned to the holder at the end of the period of disqualification only if he successfully completes the driver refresher training course. The licence holder whose licence has been suspended shall undergo the driver refresher training course from a school or establishment licenced and regulated under section 12 or such other agency, as may be notified by the Central Government. The nature, syllabus and duration of the driver refresher training course shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government

A new section: National Register of Driving Licenses

A new section i.e. Section 25A has been inserted after Section 25, as per which, The Central Government shall maintain a National Register of Driving Licences in such form and manner as may be prescribed. All State Registers of Driving Licences shall be subsumed under the National Register of Driving Licences by a date to be notified by the Central Government. No driving licence issued, or renewed, under this Act shall be valid unless it has been issued a unique driving licence number under the National Register of Driving Licences. All State Governments and licensing authorities under this Act shall transmit all information including contained data in the State Register of Driving Licences in such form and manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government. The State Governments shall be entitled to access the National Register and update their records in such manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government. Now the state governments shall not have the power to make rules with respect to the manner in which the State Register of Driving Licences shall be maintained under section 26.

Amendment to Section 40 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Place of registration

From now, after this amendment, every owner of a motor vehicle can cause the vehicle to be registered by any registering authority in the State in whose jurisdiction he has the residence or place of business where the vehicle is normally kept.

Amendment to Section 41 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Registration, by whom

After this amendment, in the case of a new motor vehicle, the application for registration in the State shall be made by the dealer of such motor vehicle, if the new motor vehicle is being registered in the same State in which the dealer is situated. Also, in case of a new motor vehicle, the application for the registration of which is made by the dealer, such motor vehicle shall not be delivered to the owner until such registration mark is displayed on the motor vehicle in such form and manner as may prescribed by the Central Government.

After this amendment, the RC of transport vehicles, shall also not be valid after a period of fifteen years fromsuch period as may be prescribed by the Central Government , however, it shall be renewable.

After this amendment, the period for which a RC could be renewed shall also be as prescribed by the Central Government. Also, the Central Government shall have the power to prescribe different period of renewal for different types of motor vehicles.

Also, if the application for renewal is not made in the prescribed time, no action shall be taken against him u/s 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Substitution of Section 44 of the Motor Vehicles Act – No production at the time of registration 

As per the new section, subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government in this behalf, a motor vehicle sold by an authorised dealer shall not require production before a registering authority for the purposes of registration for the first time. Subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the State Government, a person in whose name a certificate of registration has been issued shall not be required to produce the vehicle registered or transferred before a registering authority.

Amendment in Section 49 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Change of address in RC

It can now be done at any registering authority in the state in which it has been registered. Also the intimation of address change can be sent to the appropriate registering authority in electronic form of documents, including proof of authentication in such manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government. However, the fine amount has been increased from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500

Amendment in Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Alterations/Modifications

Sub-section (2) has been substituted. After this amendment, the Central Government may prescribe specifications, conditions for approval, retrofitment and other related matters for the alteration of motor vehicles and in such cases, the warranty granted by the manufacturer shall not be considered as void for the purposes of such alteration or retrofitment. Also a manufacturer of a motor vehicle shall on the direction issued by the Central Government, alter or retrofit safety equipment, or any other equipment in accordance with such standards and specifications as may be specified by the Central Government. Also, with he subsequent approval of the registering authority, any person may, alter or cause to be altered any vehicle owned by him to be converted into an adapted vehicle. However, such alteration should comply with such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

Amendment in Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act – Cancellation of RC

Also, where any offence has been committed by a juvenile, the authority may, after giving the owner an opportunity of making a representation in writing, cancel the certificate of registration of the vehicle for a period of one year. However, the owner of the motor vehicle may apply for fresh registration in accordance with the provisions of section 40 and section 41.

A new section: National Register of Motor Vehicles

A new section i.e. Section 62B has been inserted after Section 62A, as per which, the Central Government shall maintain a National Register of Motor Vehicles in such form and manner as may be prescribed by it. All State Registers of Motor Vehicles shall be subsumed under the National Register of Motor Vehicles by such date as may be notified in the Official Gazette by the Central Government. No certificate of registration issued, or renewed, under this Act shall be valid unless it has been issued a unique registration number under the National Register of Motor Vehicles. In order to maintain the National Register of Motor Vehicles, all State Governments and registering authorities under this Act shall transmit all information and data in the State Register of Motor Vehicles to the Central Government in such form and manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government. State Governments shall be able to access the National Register of Motor Vehicles and update records in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made by the Central Government thereunder.

A new Section: Recall of Motor Vehicles 

As per the newly inserted Section 110A, The Central Government may, by order, direct a manufacturer to recall motor vehicles of a particular type or its variants, if:

(a) a defect in that particular type of motor vehicle may cause harm to the environment or to the driver or occupants of such motor vehicle or other road users; and

(b) a defect in that particular type of motor vehicle has been reported to the Central Government by—

(i) such percentage of owners, as the Central Government, may by notification in the Official Gazette, specify; or

(ii) a testing agency; or

(iii) any other source.

Where the defect referred lies in a motor vehicle component, the Central Government may, by order, direct a manufacturer to recall all motor vehicles which contain such component, regardless of the type or variants of such motor vehicle.

A manufacturer whose vehicles are recalled under this section, shall:

(a) reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the motor vehicle, subject to any hire-purchase or lease-hypothecation agreement; or

(b) replace the defective motor vehicle with another motor vehicle of similar or better specifications which complies with the standards specified under this Act or repair it; and

(c) pay such fines and other dues in accordance with sub-section (6).

Where a manufacturer notices a defect in a motor vehicle manufactured by him, he shall inform the Central Government of the defect and initiate recall proceedings and in such case the manufacturer shall not be liable to pay fine under this Section.

Substitution of Section 129 – Wearing protective headgear

After this amendment, every person, above 4 years of age, except a Sikh wearing Turban, driving or riding or being carried on a motorcycle of any class or description shall, while in a public place, wear protective headgear conforming to such standards as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

Addition of New Section – For those who help accident victims (The Good Samaritans)

As per the newly added Section 134A, Good Samaritan” means a person, who in good faith, voluntarily and without expectation of any reward or compensation renders emergency medical or non-medical care or assistance at the scene of an accident to the victim or transports such victim to the hospital. A Good Samaritan shall not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of the victim of an accident involving a motor vehicle, where such injury or death resulted from the Good Samaritan’s negligence in acting or failing to act while rendering emergency medical or non-medical care or assistance.

Addition of New Section – Electronicmonitoring and enforcement of road safety.

As per the newly inserted Section 136A, The State Government shall ensure electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety on national highways, state highways, roads or in any urban city within a State which has a population up to such limits as may be prescribed by the Central Government, in the manner provided by the rules framed by Central Governmentor the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety including speed cameras, closed-circuit television cameras, speed guns, body wearable cameras and such other technology.

Copy of notification: Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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