Dampening the enthusiasm of car buyers who spend lavishly on car modifications to upgrade the look of the exterior of the vehicle is the judgment recently passed by the two judge bench of the Supreme Court.
It is very common to spot cars with oversized wheels and led light head lamps along with changes in the engine to gear up the performance of the vehicle. The SC court overturned a Kerala High Court judgment, which had earlier allowed structural alteration vehicles. The Kerala judgment allowed modifications to a vehicle if it was expressly noted in the registration certificate. Structural alterations were permissible as per the provisions of the Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
However referring to an upgraded provision of the Motor Vehicles act, the SC ruled out the earlier judgment. The order was passed by a bench of Justices involving Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran. “No vehicle can be altered so as to change original specification made by the manufacturer. Such particulars cannot be altered which have been specified by the manufacturer for the purpose of entry in the certificate of registration,” the bench commented.
The decision had been taken for the betterment of the public at large as vehicle manufacturers test the prototype for road-worthiness, safety and include them in the specifications and modifying a vehicle to alter the vehicles performance might prove unsafe for the driver and the environment.
That basically means that while painting the vehicle to the colour of one’s choice and minor fitments as permitted by the RTO will be allowed, no structural changes to the car’s chassis will be permitted here on. Even while changing the engine of a vehicle with the same capacity and make, the vehicle owners will have to take permission from the registration authorities, failing which they can risk getting their registration cancelled. This can have wide ramifications for the car accessories industry if law enforcement agencies begin implementing the court’s judgment seriously.
However the implementation of the rule will be a time consuming process as the government needs to notify state transport departments about the Supreme Court judgment. Once that happens, it remains to be seen how effectively the transport departments and law enforcement machinery of various states deal with modified vehicles. Once the transport department and traffic police departments become aware of the Supreme Court judgment, people modifying their vehicles may get into trouble with the law.
According to car accessory dealer the car and motorcycle accessory industry in India is quite large. So, there is a chance that accessory makers and car modifiers lobby with the government and get the motor vehicles act amended to allow a certain degree of modification. CarToq