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Bull Bars and Crash Guards penalty do not fall under Sec. 190 and 191

On 7th December, the Centre directed all states to take ‘Action against unauthorised fitment of Crash Guard / Bull Bar on the Motor Vehicles. There is now a petition that explains ‘Bull Bars and Crash Guards penalty do not fall under Sec. 190 and 191’.

No.RT-11021/38/2017-MVL addressed the following: Kind attention is drawn to the unauthorised fitment of crash guards / bull bars on the Motor Vehicles. The fitment of crash guard I bull bar on the vehicles pose serious safety concerns to the pedestrians as well as occupants of the vehicle. It is brought to your notice that the fitment of crash guards I bull bar is in contravention of Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and attracts penalty under Section 190 and Section 191 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.’

It is therefore requested that States may take strict action against the unauthorised fitment of Crash Guard/ Bull bar on the motor Vehicles.

The directive considers that fact that in case of contact or a crash involving vehicles with bull bars, impact is distributed unevenly, and thereby may cause failure in deployment of airbags and lead to a fatal end. The argument is questioning the authority of crash guards penalty.

A stay is being sought on the directive. The argument points the Centre’s decision has no legality. This is because there is no rule, law or bye-law that brings in purview accessories such as crash guards or bull bars. A hearing is scheduled for February 6. The argument is that section 52 of the Motor Vehicle Act pertains to modification in a vehicle and this does not include after-market fitments.

An excerpt of a document explains this further. ‘After carefully perusing the entire section, it can be legally interpreted that the section deals with alteration with the details mentioned in the RC (Registration Certificate) only.

As far as the Bull Bars/ Crash Guards are concerned, the fitment of the same cannot be termed as an Alteration/Modification in the Motor Vehicle. The crash guards/ bull bars are accessories of the motor vehicles and therefore the fitment of the Crash Guards / Bull Bars is not in contravention with Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles, Act. 1988.

Since the fitment of crash guards/ bull bars are not in contravention with law, and since there is no law, rule, or bye-­? law, for the regulation/use/fitment of crash guards/ bull bars, therefore the same shall not attract any penalty. To be more elaborate, the Section 190 deals with penalties in case when a motor vehicle is being run on roads in defective condition, which is known to the driver/owner, for example if one knows that his car has brake issues and he still drives the same with the knowledge that it may cause an accident, penalty under section
190 will be attracted. As far as section 191 is concerned, it is a penalty against the sellers of motor vehicles, if they know the vehicles are not in confirmation with law. It is clarified that the fitment of Crash Guards/Bull Bars does not attract any penalty under Sec. 190 and Sec. 191 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.

According to the Act, ‘No owner of a motor vehicle shall so alter the vehicle that the particulars contained in the certificate of registration are at variance with those originally specified by the manufacturer.’ Violation attracts a fine of Rs 1,000 fine for the first offence, and Rs 2,000 for subsequent offences but does this include bull bars /crash guards penalty?

A copy of the PIL filed

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