If Gujarat that reduced traffic violation fines was a significant modification to the Centre’s decision on Motor Vehicles Act, Telangana is open defiance. Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has decided not to implement the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 which imposed hefty fines on traffic violators. These were to come into effect from 1 September.
“We will not implement the new Motor Vehicles Act brought in by the Centre. We will bring in our own law. We are not in a hurry to implement the new traffic rules. We have no intention to penalise the people with heavy fines,” KCR said in the Telangana assembly.
The government had formed a committee to study the new MV Act. The opinion within the party and the government is that the fines are meeting with resistance from the people and has not quite endeared the BJP to the people. The political feedback given was that the TRS government, if it implements it, would also come under fire from the public.
Last week, the owner of a truck and its driver were fined over Rs 2 lakh in Delhi under the amended MV Act for various offences including overloading and driving without a proper license.
KCR said Telangana will enact its own law but opinion is divided on whether a state can bring its own version of the MV Act only with relation to fines.
Union Transport minister Nitin Gadkari had said that Transport ministers of 20 states were consulted before the amendments were brought in. So this raises the question about the feedback Telangana gave to the Centre at the discussion stage.
At a larger level, the decision to fall in line is KCR’s way of testing the waters. To see if a state can defy the Centre citing public mood is in its favour. What happens to the MV Act could well be a precursor to things to come.