Motor Vehicle Amendment bill's passage unlikely in monsoon session
The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016, which is dubbed as crucial to bring down incidence of road accidents, is unlikely to be passed by Rajya Sabha in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, said informed sources.
As no consensus was reached among the government side and some political parties at a meeting convened by the upper house's Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, it has been decided to send the bill to the Select Committee, the sources said.
They said that it was however agreed that the Bill should be passed in the first week of the next session of Parliament after the committee submits its report.
The sources said that Kurien on Friday morning held a meeting of leaders of the parties in Rajya Sabha so that a consensus could be reached and the Bill passed in the current session.
At the meeting, attended among others by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, SP leader Naresh Agarawal and leaders of the Left parties, DMK, AIADMK and other parties, the Minister sought to address the the objections regarding provisions raised by some parties but they were not satisfied and demanded that the Bill should be sent to Select Committee.
Gadkari was keen on passing the Bill this session. The government, during the previous session, had listed the Bill but could not be taken up.
Sources said that Kurien had made a similar attempt earlier also to reach at consensus but failed.
The changes in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 were approved by the Union Cabinet on March 31, proposing hefty penalties for various traffic offences, three-year jail terms for parents of minors caught driving and causing fatal accidents and a ten-fold increase in compensation for families of accident victims.
The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha last August and was referred to a parliamentary standing committee, whose suggestions have been endorsed by the Union Cabinet.
According to the Consumer Voice survey, 95.58 per cent of the respondents believe that the amendment is a strong bill.
Approximately 1,374 accidents and 400 accidental deaths take place every day on Indian roads, as per a report by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry in 2015. A tough law is needed to bring down by 50 per cent the road traffic accidents by 2020, a commitment India made by adopting the Brasilia Declaration for Road Safety.
The Bill amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to address issues such as third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.
Under the Act, the liability of the third party insurer for motor vehicle accidents is unlimited, but the Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at Rs 5 lakh in case of grievous injury.
The Bill also provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.