Compensation of Rs 5 lakh for death and Rs 2.5 lakh for grievous injury in a motor vehicle accident case have been proposed by the government as it seeks to make the Motor Vehicles Act more stringent.

On Monday, the government again introduced a bill to amend the Motor Vehicles Act that also provides for higher penalties for violations and protection of good Samaritans, among other provisions.

Amid concerns raised by some members over certain provisions in the bill, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the central government is not looking to take away the rights of states and urged the House to pass the legislation which would help in saving more lives. The bill was passed in the previous Lok Sabha but could not get approval from the Rajya Sabha.

“The motor vehicle owner or the insurer would pay Rs 5 lakh compensation in case of death and Rs 2.5 lakh for grievous hurt,” according to the bill.

Proposed provisions

The bill seeks to increase penalties for violations, facilitate grant of online learning licence, simplified provisions for insurance to provide expeditious help to accident victims and their families, and protection of good Samaritans.

As per the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill, the period for renewal of transport licence would be increased to five years from three years and enable licensing authority to grant licence to differently-abled persons.

Another provision proposed is to raise the time limit for renewal of driving licence from one month to one year before and after the expiry date.

Responding to concerns flagged by some members, Gadkari said he was ready to discuss all issues and emphasised that the bill was prepared after discussions and recommendations by state transport ministers during the previous regime.” The provisions in the legislation are not binding on states and it is up to them to implement it,” he said.

The bill was introduced by Minister of State for Road Transport VK Singh in the Lok Sabha.

According to Gadkari, around 30 per cent of driving licences in the country are bogus. About 1.5 lakh people die and 5 lakh people get injured in road accidents every year, he added. “My Department has failed to pass the bill in the last five years but the number of accidents has reduced by around 3-4 per cent in the last five years while the incidence came down by around 15 per cent in Tamil Nadu during the same period,” he noted.

Some parts opposed

Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy opposed the bill, saying certain provisions would take away powers of state governments and would also infringe on their rights. Another party member Mahua Moitra also opposed some provisions of the bill.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he was opposing a few provisions of the bill and not in entirety.