The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015

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The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 15, 2015 by Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Mr Nitin Gadkari it seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. When the bill was being passed, Congress and other opposition parties were not present in the house as they were signalling the government that they do not support the reforms.

Congress wanted this bill which was being ratified immediately by the parliament to be sent to parliamentary panels for review. This kind of acts by opposition can threaten government’s reforms agenda if opposition oppose it always. BJP government since it has big majority can clear the Lok Sabha without much hurdles but in Rajya Sabha opposition dominates is where we can see the obstacle more.

Most of the E-cart and E-rickshaw drivers do not have any licences under the main Act which will debar them from operating for a year, so to remove this difficulty Central Government propose to amend some clauses of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 that can help e-cart and e-rickshaw drivers to a greater extent.

It was passed to amend the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and is enacted on 66th year of republic of India by the parliament which came into force on 7 January 2015. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is called as the principal act hereafter.

The main act which defines a motor vehicle or vehicle as any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use on the roads but it does not include vehicle running on fixed rails, or vehicle of special type adapted in factories, or vehicles which have less than 4 wheels fitted with engine capacity which is not 25cc. Licence to drive public service vehicles, goods carriages, educational institution buses, private sector vehicles are granted to people for atleast 1 year which includes light weight vehicles like car, tractor which does not weight more than 6000 kilo grams under the main Act.

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This new bill brings e-carts and e-rickshaws under the ambit of the said Act. Section 2A has been inserted in the Bill which relate to application of the provisions of the Act to e-cart and e-rickshaw. E-cart and e-rickshaw has been defined as vehicles that run on special purpose battery powered vehicles not exceeding 4000 watts that has 3 wheels which carry goods or passengers as the case may be. It is on hire or reward, manufactured, constructed and maintained in relation to the said specifications as prescribed under the Act. This amendment bill can benefit lakhs of e-rickshaw and e-carts drivers. New rule provide e-rickshaw to carry 4 passengers and 40kg luggage and e-carts up to 310 kgs of weight.

Section 7 in the principal Act has been amended but nothing contained in sub-section will apply to an e-cart or e-rickshaw. Under Section 9 of the principal Act some changes are made relating to the issue of driving licence to drive e-cart or e-rickshaw as per the conditions laid down under the Act.

In Section 27 of the Principal Act clause (a) is renumbered as clause (aa) and inserted specifications relating to e-cart and e-rickshaw. Also clause (ff) is inserted regarding manner and conditions in which driving license can be issued.

Motor vehicles (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 is repealed but anything done or any action taken under the principal act will be considered as the act done under this new Act itself.

As per the wordings of Nitin Gadkari Road Transport and Highway Minister, this bill will obviously help and benefit the poor and also give a boost to ‘Make in India’ initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will help in growth of battery moving vehicle to be manufactured indigenously by Pune based company.”Over one crore people are plying cycle rickshaws and carts in the country,” Gadkari said. He also said that effort is made to give loans at 3% – 4% interest to SCs, STs, and OBC people to buy e-rickshaws and also women and physically challenged persons are also given driving license to drive such vehicles.

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by Sushma Javare.