THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the state government set to slash fines for various traffic offences, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Friday defended the stringent provisions. He said the government should not dilute Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, for political gains. He said accidents could be reduced only through stringent laws.
“I personally agree with the revised amounts. The current stand taken by some political parties could be due to many factors including the impending elections. The attempts at diluting the Act are aimed at gaining temporary public support,” said the minister while speaking to the media here on Friday.
According to him, complaints regarding the hefty fines for traffic violations should not be the reason to change the law. “The changes made in the law should not be for short-term gains or for getting votes,” said the minister. According to the new Act that became effective from September 1, the fine for not wearing helmet has been increased from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000. The penalty for not wearing seat belt is now Rs 1,000 and for drunken driving, the fine has been raised to Rs 10,000 from the earlier Rs 2,000.
However, the stiff fines have not gone down well with the public. In the wake of concerns raised by states, the Centre has now asked the states to decide the fine amounts for traffic rule violations. Several states such as Gujarat and Karnataka have already announced drastic cuts on fines imposed on various traffic violations, while states such as West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have declared that they would not implement it.
In Kerala, the Congress and CPM have come out against the law after the stipulated hefty fines became controversial. The state government is likely to announce relaxation in fines on Monday. The fines for helmet-less ride and driving without wearing seat belt would be reduced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 500.