State to soft-pedal on new traffic fines for first 3 months




Defending  the steep  hikes in penalties for traffic violations under the amended  Motor Vehicles Act,  Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho on Wednesday disclosed that new penalties will not be enforced harshly for first three months, until proper public awareness is created.

The new penalties will come into force from May 1, he told  a press conference, stating that the idea behind the steep penalties  is to make people conform to rules so as to save lives and livelihoods.

Responding to the criticism on the  higher  penalties under the new law,  Godinho  said that only those who break the law will
pay fines.

“If a person does not break the law then he need not pay a fine. Penalty collection is not our objective. We want people to be safe. We  delayed the implementation for one year due to bad roads and the pandemic. Now, we can’t delay it any further. However, we will be lenient for the first three months, allowing people to accept and adjust with the new law,”

he maintained.

“I have instructed the enforcement authorities not to be harsh towards the motorists for the first three months as people are still reeling under the pandemic. I request them to be humane and lenient,” the Transport Minister said.

A brief presentation was made at the press conference on high penalties under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019,  explaining about the  authorities involved in compounding offences under three different schedules mentioned in the act.

The minister said the fines for different violations under the central law are the upper limit;  for some minor offences, states have been given leverage to keep minimum fine amount starting at Rs 500.

“The fines have been kept to minimum wherever possible. Wherever we had leverage we have kept the minimum penalty of Rs 500 on minor offences like red-light jumping, helmetless riding, and parking offences. But we can’t reduce quantum of fines  where offences are of serious nature,” Godinho explained.