Ban import of cars not roadworthy: PIL - The New Indian Express

Ban import of cars not roadworthy: PIL

Published: 25th November 2013 09:14 AM

Last Updated: 25th November 2013 09:14 AM

Angered by the malfunctioning of a luxury car, a private company is suing the government for allowing import of vehicles not suited for Indian roads.

Embassy Property Development Limited, a Bangalore-based company, has filed a public interest petition before the Karnataka High Court after a luxury SUV it had imported suddenly locked itself up and caused a four-hour jam on MG Road.

The petition alleges the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Ministry, the Karnataka government, the Automotive Research Association and other government bodies are not checking the roadworthiness of imported cars.

The realty company had spent `71.25 lakh in 2010 and imported a BMW X5 Sports Utility Vehicle for its CMD Jitu Virwani. On April 19, the SUV reportedly jerked to a halt and locked itself. The driver was unable to even open the windows and doors as they were jammed. The incident occurred during peak hours, and inconvenienced hundreds of road users.

The petitioner sent legal notices to the BMW group in Germany, BMW Asia (Singapore) and BMW India, asking them to return the full amount paid for the vehicle along with interest of 36 per cent from September 9, 2010. It has also sought `5 crore for putting the life of its chairman in danger.

Forbes magazine reports that BMW had recalled 1.3 lakh vehicles in 2010 and is now recalling 5.69 lakh vehicles sold between 2007 and 2012 in the US and Canada. Top BMW officials in India failed to reply to emails and to this reporter’s calls seeking to know if the vehicle in question was from any batch that had been recalled.

The petitioner has urged the court to direct automobile manufacturers to recall all imported vehicles that are not roadworthy.

“Due to the failure of the authorities, the right to life and liberty of the citizens of India is in danger,” the petition states.

The High Court directed the petitioner to seek necessary particulars under the RTI Act.

Advocate Aijth Kumar, who also owns a imported vehicle, said foreign cars are unable to run properly on Indian roads with potholes.

“Either the authorities make good roads or ban the import of such cars,” Aijth Kumar said.

On September 17, because the roads were bad, the steering mechanism of another car (not a BMW) froze and the vehicle skidded into the Beguvalli Lake, Thirthahalli.

A family of six was trapped inside. Luckily, they were saved.

While some companies like Fiat and Ford have been known to modify their cars for Indian conditions, the practice is not mandatory.

Globally, BMW has recalled many units of the X5 as and when problems with the steering, fuel pump and other components were discovered.

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