RECENT MODIFICATIONS AND JUDGMENTS IN AUTOMOBILE SECTOR

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This article is written by Kashish Goyal from Mody University of Science and Technology, Rajasthan and curated by Shruti Chaudhary from Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow.

The automobile industry is one of the most important sectors of our country. This sector plays a vital role in designing, selling, manufacturing, transporting of motor vehicles. Many changes have been done in this sector in terms of the Motor Vehicle Act and relief measures.

As per the notification of the Central Government, the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2019, has introduced the changes in penalties. This act is drafted to deter individuals from violating the rules. With this, it also provides medical assistance to the victim of an accident. The penalties and fines have also been increased, for example, for not wearing a helmet Rs 100 to Rs 1000 with 3 months disqualification for speeding or racing- Rs 500- Rs 5000, for offences committed by the juvenile – the guardian has to pay Rs 25000 with 3-year imprisonment, for drunk and driving- Rs 2000 to Rs 10000.

In January 2019, the Hon’ble Supreme Court ordered that they could not alter the manufacturing which is made by the manufacturer for the purpose of registration. Section 52 of the Motor Vehicle Act deals with Alteration of vehicle and it illustrates the extent to which the altercation can be done.

A recent judgment on the Motor vehicle Act named Ramkhiladi &Anr v. The United India Insurance Company, is related to section 163 A of Motor Vehicle Act and talks about the liability of the owner or authorized owner when there is a disablement due to an accident by motor vehicle. In such cases, when any person claims the insurance from the company, negligence on the part of the person is not required to be proved, it is enough to prove that the deceased died or any permanent disablement occurs. The compensation can be claimed only by the claimants, not by any other or third party. This is because it is possible that the person who is driving the vehicle is the relative or the borrower of the owner and if in case the accident occurs, they would not be covered under the category of claimants. For example, the parties are governed by the contract of insurance as illustrated in this case also and the insurance company will be liable to the third party as per the deed.

Recently, one more change also took place in the Payments for driving license, on 30th of March, 2020 i.e. the government extended the validity of payments for obtaining the documents like driving license, Certificate of Vehicle to 31st of July, 2020. The Ministry of Roads and Transport has stated that no additional fees will be  charged if in case there is a delay in payment from the 1st of February till the completion of the period of lockdown.

The main reason behind this extension was that, as some have already paid the amount related to renewal or any other documents related to the vehicle, the money is not deposited due to lacking in communication between the ministry and the government. Additionally, because of this, it was also ordered that the money which was already deposited will remain valid and that there is no need to apply for the procedure again.

And the documents which have already expired means since 1st February or they will expire till 30th June, for the enforcement of the validity of the document would be till 30th June. This has benefitted some people because in this pandemic they are not getting registration on time, but for those who have already registered, this extension is of no use.

A good change has been made in providing compensation to those people who had disabled their limbs due to an accident. It was a good judgement delivered by the Supreme Court. Earlier the person who got disabled by the accident would be awarded the compensation for only 25% of the whole body by the Motor Accident claim tribunal. This was too unfair and an unreasonable percentage. If in case the percentage of disability in the whole body is assessed as more than 50%  how would the person be able to get relief if he was a poor worker.  The percentage should be decided on the basis of the majority of people.

In Sri Anthony alias Anthony Swamy v. the managing Director, K.S.R.T.C, the Supreme Court observed this irrationality and also fixed the functional disability to 75% who had disabled due to the accident. The main motive behind this is to provide the compensation and ensure that the person lives with dignity. The compensation should be provided on the basis of the future earnings of people.

An announcement was made by the Finance Minister regarding the automobile industry about increasing the depreciation cost on automobiles with this the tax which is levied on products will be cut off. This was done to boost the demand for vehicles in the sector and to get off the unfit vehicles on the road so that there will be a high increased in demand for new vehicles.

In India, the automobile sector has been going through a slump for the last nine months. The majority of this loss has occurred in the automobile sector during the lockdown period. These measures might help to come up with the gain in the sector. While making any decision regarding the measures the main consideration must be a middle man who should not be made to suffer.

A change about the Bharat emission standards – IV, in which they had to sell the stock of BS-IV till 31st March i.e. during the period of lockdown as they want to establish BS-VI norms, but an instant change in the business model can lead to falling in the growth of the sector. It is true that each sector has its own issues. The Indian auto sector has been going through a slowdown. Many of the companies have already sold their inventory because of the emission standards. Every business or company needs time to adapt to any of the changes in the industry.

It is concluded that the changes and the amendments which have been done in the automobile sector have laid a huge impact on the level of growth. Each change has its own positive and negative impacts on any business.

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