According to the Motor Vehicle Act of India, any type of modification on two-wheelers or four-wheelers is illegal in our country. Barring a few mods, almost every kind of alteration or accessory added on cars is illegal in the eyes of the law. In 2012, the Supreme Court of India passed a law stating that the use of dark reflective films on car windows is illegal. Now, a Jeep owner in Kerala has come under the scanner of cops who issued a fine of Rs. 3,000 on his Jeep for making illegal modifications to his vehicle. Interestingly, the same Jeep was used by the state police force during the horrid Kerala flood that caused widespread damage in the affected areas.
As seen in the images here, this Mahindra Jeep has been fined for Rs. 3,000 in accordance with the Motor Vehicle Act. Do note that this has nothing to do with the recent amendments in the act regarding fines. The MV Act has, ever since their inception, deemed almost every type of modification on cars and bikes as illegal. This one has been fined for having tinted glasses along with having dazzling white LED lights mounted on the top and on either side of the windshield bottom.
According to our laws, a vehicle cannot have aftermarket lights mounted on it above the height of the headlights. Further, even those lights mounted at permissible heights should be covered when the vehicle is being driven in the city. The only cases where roof-mounted lights are legally allowed are when the car comes fitted with such lights from the factory itself or the owner gets the modifications passed by the RTO and the changes included in the RC. As for the tinted glasses, they were declared illegal by the Supreme Court of India in 2012 in the aftermath of the infamous and unfortunate Nirbhaya case.
Since this Jeep was found committing both these offences, it was fined by the cops for the same reasons. According to a Facebook Post, the same vehicle was used by the cops during the rescue operation of the Kerala flood. In fact, a lot of modified 4×4 vehicle and their owners actively came out to help during the rescue operations of the Kerala floods. Many of these modified SUVs were lifted and had snorkels, which helped the vehicles to go through the flooded streets of Kerala. After the situation was under control, the 4X4 community of the state was facilitated by the State Chief Secretary and everyone appreciated them for the efforts. To let you know, the Cheif Minister of Kerala posted a request on Facebook asking 4X4 vehicle owners to come out and join the rescue and relief efforts in the state after the floods.
For automotive enthusiasts, modifying their rides is an integral part of their passion but the laws of our country don’t allow so. There are a lot of harmless and performance/practicality/comfort-enhancing modifications possible on cars and bikes just like the snorkel on the Jeep featured here. The reason behind our strict laws is that changing any aspect of the vehicle most likely results in a change of its basic characteristics like efficiency, handling, ride, or drivability among others and hence, doing so is prohibited. What can be done here is the formation of a committee/department which reshapes the MV Act and makes a few guidelines as to what is legal and what not in terms of car modifications.