The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2016 which seeks to bring in many changes to the current Motor Vehicles Act has been approved by the Cabinet according to a report. (Refer here) The Bill is yet to be passed into an Act.

The Bill has caught attention of the public from several angles. One aspect that has been making rounds in the WhatsApp circles is the proposed increase in the penalties for traffic violations.

The second important aspect is the protection to good Samaritans proposed in the Bill so that accident victims may get immediate medical attention.

The third noticeable aspect is an attempt to define an “aggregator” like the Olas and Ubers.

According to the proposed section 2 (1A), an “aggregator” means a digital intermediary or market  place for a passenger to connect with a driver for the purpose of transportation”.

There will be a need for the “aggregator’ to get a license under Section 93 of the Act for which guidelines are to be issued by the Central Government. It is also specifically mentioned that the aggregator shall comply with the provisions of the Information Technology Act 2000 and the rules and regulations made there under.

The penalty clause under Section 193 proposes as follows:

“Whoever engages himself as an aggregator in contravention of the provisions of section 93 or of any rules made thereunder shall be punishable with fine up to one lakh rupees but shall not be less than twenty-five thousand rupees.”

“Whoever, while operating as an aggregator contravenes a condition of the licence granted under sub-section (4) of section 93, not designated by the State Government as a material condition, shall be punishable with fine of five thousand rupees.”.

According to these provisions, it would be mandatory for the Aggregators to be compliant with ITA 2000/8 failing which they need to face the possibility of a fine of upto Rs 1 lakh. This will be considered as additional to the penalties that may be imposed under ITA 2000/8 which will kick in when a wrongful harm has been caused by an “intermediary”.

It would be interesting to see how this section will be interpreted in practice.

Let’s watch the developments when the Bill is discussed in the Parliament. It is quite likely that the debate will completely ignore the impact of ITA 2000/8 though for us this is an important aspect to be taken note of.

It is also proposed that a”National Driving License Register” would be maintained (should be available in electronic form) and certain changes like change of address etc can be made electronically.

Also the State Government has been mandated to introduce electronic monitoring of enforcement (legitimizing the use of CCTVs, Speed Guns, body wearable cameras etc for booking offences) for which State Governments need to make rules.

The Central Government and the State Governments can also make rules for  the use of electronic forms and means for the filing of documents, issue or grant of licence, permit, sanction, approval or endorsements and the receipt or payment of money.

Naavi

Reference documents

Copy of the Amendment Bill

Copy of the present Act