Crash guards and bull bars unauthorised and illegal if not in RC – Pay fine

Unauthorised and illegal crash guards and bull bars warrant a fine and violate sections 52, 190 and 191 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which is under revision and being tabled at the ongoing winter session of the parliament.

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Unauthorised fitment of crash guards or bull bars are being viewed as unsafe, and in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

Installation of parts whether for modification, beautification or for functionality when done in an unauthorised manner are being viewed as a safety concern that compromises pedestrians as well as occupants.

Section 52 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988 pertains to ‘Alteration in motor vehicle’. The norms are as follows:

(1) No owner of a motor vehicle shall so alter the vehicle that the particulars contained in the certificate of registration are no longer accurate, unless-

(a) he has given notice to the registering authority within jurisdiction he has the residence or the place of business where the vehicle is normally kept, as the case may be, of the alternation he proposes to make; and

(b) he has obtained the approval of the registering authority to make such alteration.

Provided that it shall not be necessary to obtain such approval for making any change in the unladen weight of the motor vehicle consequent on the addition or removal of fittings or accessories, if such change does not exceed two per cent of the weight entered in the certificate of registration.

3[Provided further that modification of the engine, or any part thereof, of vehicle for facilitating its operation by a different type of or source of energy including battery, compressed natural gas, solar power or any other fuel or source of energy other than liquid petroleum gas shall be treated as an alteration but that shall be subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.]

(2) Where a registering authority receives a notice under sub-section (1), it shall, within seven days of the receipt thereof, communicate, by post, to the owner of the vehicle its approval to the proposed alteration or otherwise.

Provided that where the owner of the motor vehicle has not received any such communication within the said period of seven days, the approval of such authority to the proposed alteration shall be deemed to have given.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), a State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, authorise, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the notification, the owner of not less than ten transport vehicles to alter any vehicle owned by them so as to replace the engine thereof without the approval of the registering authority.

(4) Where any alteration has been made in a motor vehicle either with the approval of registering authority given or deemed to have been given under sub-section (2) or by reason of replacement of it engine without such approval under sub-section (3), the owner of the vehicle shall, within fourteen days of the making of the alteration, report the alteration to the registering authority within whose jurisdiction he resides and shall forward the certificate of registration to that authority together with the prescribed fee in order that particulars of the alteration may be entered therein.

(5) A registering authority other than the original registering authority making any such entry shall communicate the details of the entry to the original registering authority.

1[(6) No person holding a vehicle under a hire-purchase agreement shall make any alteration to the vehicle for which approval of the registering authority is required under sub-section (1), except with the written consent of the registered owner.]

Explanation- For the purposes of this section, “alteration” means a change in the structure of a vehicle which results in change in its basic feature.]

Simply put, any alterations including installation of crash guards or bull bars needs to be included in the RC (registration certificates) book. If the mod (crash guards or bull bars) does not reflect in the RC it is viewed as unlawful.

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has written to the Principal Secretaries, Secretaries and Commissioners, Transport of the states saying “It is brought to your notice that the fitments of crash guards/ bull bar is in contravention of section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and attracts penalty under section 190 and 191 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It is therefore requested that states may take strict action against the unauthorised fitment of crashguard/bull bar on the motor vehicles.”

Section 190 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 pertains to ‘Using vehicle in unsafe condition’-

(1) Any person who drives or causes or allows to be driven in any public place a motor vehicle or trailer while the vehicle or trailer has any defect, which such person knows of or could have discovered by the exercise of ordinary care and which is calculated to render the driving of the vehicle a source of danger to person and vehicles using such place, or if as a result of such defect an accident is caused causing bodily injury or damage to property, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees (Rs 1000), or with both.

(2) Any person who drives or causes or allows to be driven, in any public place a motor vehicle, which violates the standards prescribed in relation to road safety, control of noise and air-pollution, shall be punishable for the first offence with a fine of one thousand rupees and for any second or subsequent offence with a fine of two thousand rupees (Rs 2000).

(3) Any person who drives or cause or allows to be driven, in any public place a motor vehicle, which violates the provisions of this Act or the rule made thereunder relating to the carriage of goods which are of dangerous or hazardous nature to human life, shall be punishable for the first offence which may extend to three thousand rupees (Rs 3000), or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one years, or with both, and for any second or subsequent offence with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees (Rs 5,000), or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with both.

The offence of driving an unsafe vehicle is punishable with a fine of Rs 1,000 for a first time offence. Subsequent bookings warrant a fine of Rs 2,000 and crash guards or bull bars can be removed from the vehicle.

Section 191 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 pertains to ‘Sale of vehicle in or alteration of vehicle to condition contravening this Act’

Whoever being an importer of or dealer in motor vehicles, sells or delivers or offers to sell or deliver a motor vehicle or trailer in such condition that the use thereof in a public place would be in contravention of Chapter VII or any rule made thereunder or alters the motor vehicle or trailer so as to render its conditions such that its use in a public place would be in contravention of Chapter VII or any rule made therunder shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees (Rs 5,000).

Provided that no person shall be convicted under this section if he proves that he had reasonable cause to believe that the vehicle would not be used in a public place until it had been put into a condition in which it might lawfully be so used.

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