Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was passed in the Lok Sabha on 10/04/2017 after it was introduced in the House on April 7. It was passed by a voice note, and several amendments moved by the opposition were reportedly rejected. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 9, 2016, aiming to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and address issues around third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety. The Cabinet had then approved various changes in the Bill last month. These include 16 amendments and rejection of three suggestions made by the Parliament Standing Committee. The Bill will now go to the Rajya Sabha for its nod, and then the President of India for his assent.
Highlights of the Bill
To reduce traffic offenses, the bill has proposed a three-year jail term for parents of minors who are caught driving. It also proposes a 10-fold increase in compensation to the family of a victim in case of an accident
It removes the cap on liability for third party insurance. Third party insurance is the liability purchased from an insurer (insurance company) by person A (insured party) to protect himself against claims from person B (third party), in the event of death, injury, or damage to property. The 2016 Bill had capped the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at 5 lakh rupees in case of grievous injury. This cap has been removed.
To ensure hassle-free and quick services, the Bill proposes increasing validity of driving licenses, online learning licenses, and omitting the requirement of minimum qualification to get a driving license issued. In addition, existing categories of driving licenses will be amended.
The compensation to hit-and-run victims will be provided from a Solatium Fund. Also those extending help to victims of road accidents will be protected from any civil or criminal action. It will also provide for recalling of vehicles in case of any defects.
The bill also defines taxi aggregators. For them, the guidelines will be determined by Central government. Currently, the guidelines are decided by respective state governments.
It proposes to create a National Register for Driving Licence and a National Register for Vehicle registration through “Vahan” and “Sarathi” platforms. This is in order to smoothen the process of registration and licensing.