Bhubaneswar, Sept 25 (LocalWire): Human Rights activists sought the implementation of the amended motor vehicle Act 2019 in true letter and spirit alleging arbitrary and highhanded behaviour of enforcing authorities.
Rights activists Biswapriya Kanungo, Bijaya Kumar Panda, Golekh Prasad Nayak, Prakash Chandra Das and Subasis Panda moved a petition with the apex Rights watchdog panel and stated that policemen arbitrarily imposed the penalties going against the spirit of the law.
They said on 4 September, a poor auto driver from Kandhamal district was imposed Rs 47,500 penalty at the Acharya Vihar Square in the city while a woman driving a scooty was levied Rs 31,000 fine under the amended law.
‘It was not the order of a mobile court but of the executing authorities.
We are doubtful whether the policemen have been vested with such unfettered authority to impose penalties of such huge amounts on the spot and instantly without following the provision as laid down under Section 32 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules.
The said provision allows fifteen days time to produce the required documents of the vehicle to the inspecting authority,’ the petition moved by the activists said.
Over-speeding, drunken driving and traffic violation need to be sternly dealt with to make the roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and motorists. But imposing hefty penalties on those falling short of documents on pollution clearance and insurance is no solution to curb road fatalities.
Calling upon the NHRC to issue orders on the re-examination of the first-time offenders who were made to cough-up hefty penalties, the petition sought for comprehensive administrative infrastructures to provide services for the registrations of vehicles, issuances of driving licenses and pollution testing certificates.
The state government formulated the Road Safety Policy 2015 through a gazette notification on 28 February, 2015.
The said policy pledges to improve road conditions, its engineering and designing, increasing public awareness, emergency cases to reduce fatalities and injuries, research for road safety, provide adequate number of trained traffic personnel and installation of more traffic posts to ensure road safety.
The state, instead of letting loose a reign of terror on first-time Motor Vehicle offenders, needs to lay focus on implementing the road safety policies in letter and spirit to check the rising graph of road accident fatalities, the petition iterated.
The penalties on drunken driving, driving without a license, helmetless driving, over-speeding, overloading, reckless driving has been hiked manifold as per the amended act to ensure road safety and curb road accident fatalities.
The strict MV Act enforcement triggered a major law-and-order situation in Bhubaneswar on 7 September with police resorting to lathicharge to disperse agitated crowd.
The people protested levying of hefty fine on traffic violators and harassment by traffic police.
In view of the statewide resentment against levying of hefty penalties as per the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2019, the Government of Odisha on September 9 had announced a three-month relaxation in aggressive implementation of the amended rules.