In what seems to be the biggest fine that a vehicle has been hit with, a truck driver was hit with an enormous fine of Rs. 6.53 lakhs in Odisha, and that too under the old Motor Vehicles Act. We can only shudder to imagine what the fine under the amended Motor Vehicle Act would look like. It would certainly be many times more than that under the old act, which means a sum that’s a lot greater than Rs. 6.53 lakhs.
According to ZeeNews, the truck driver was stopped and fined by Sambalpur district police on the 10th of August, much before the new Motor Vehicle Act came into effect on the 1st of September. notably, police officials attached to the Sambalpur district recently issued another massive fine of over Rs. 1 lakh on another truck driver for overloading. That truck was also registered with Nagaland plates, and was overloaded with an earthmover.
Coming to the truck driver Dillip Karta, who paid the enormous fine amount of Rs. 6.53 lakhs was a native of Jharsuguda, and the truck was registered in Nagaland, under the name of Shailesh Shankar Lal Gupta. The reasons for this massive fine are multi-fold. The truck was being driven without road tax and was not carrying documents including vehicle insurance. It was also violating air and noise pollution conditions, was carrying passengers on the goods vehicle, and violated permit conditions. Not paying road tax is a serious offence and RTO officials often seize such vehicles and release them only after the road tax is duly paid. This has happened in case of many luxury car owners as well, who’ve had to shell out many lakhs of rupees for registering their cars in a different, often lower tax state, and using them in states with a much higher road tax. This is considered as tax evasion by RTO authorities.
In case of commercial vehicles, RTO officials are particularly stricter, and hefty fines are levied on erring drivers/owners. Over the past few days, police and transport officials in various parts of India have begun levying hefty fines on errant motorists under the amended Motor Vehicles Act. Citizens across most states have protested, and many states have even steeply decreased fines for specific offences. Many states such as West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan have refused to implement the amended Motor Vehicles Act, citing that the fines were exorbitant. Gujarat has reduced fines while Karnataka and Odisha have asked police and transport officials to stop collecting the new fines. More states such as Maharashtra and Jharkhand are likely to follow Karnataka and Odisha in either reducing or removing much of the increased fines under the new Motor Vehicles Act.