State governments cannot reduce fines for traffic offences below what has been notified as minimum amount in the recently amended Motor Vehicle Act, the country’s top law officer has said. Attorney general K K Venugopal also said that the Centre is within its rights to issue directions to states to implement the law passed by Parliament.
The road transport and highways ministry in September had sought legal opinion through the law ministry soon after some of the state governments including Gujarat had reduced the fines for compoundable offences below the minimum penalties, which has been specified in the Motor Vehicle Act. The amended law came into effect from September 1.
Under the law, there are 24 compoundable offences, which means in such cases an offender can pay the penalty at the spot and doesn’t need to visit a court. Such offences include driving without wearing helmet and seatbelt, driving an uninsured vehicle, blocking way of emergency vehicles and racing.
Section 200 of the amended law empowers the states to notify the exact fine where the central law has set minimum and maximum fine or penalty.