The Gauhati (modern day Guwahati) High Court order was announced by Chief Justice K Sreedhar Rao and Justice PK Saikia in response to two PILs filed by Mukesh Agarwal and Rita Das Mazumdar. The duo’s PIL questioned adherence of small cars (including quadricycles) to crash tests and emission norms prevalent in the country. It is the contention of petitioners that small passenger vehicles are not built in conformance to safety standards.
NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) tests put into focus the need for airbags and sturdier frontal body of vehicles. Test conducted on small cars in the M1 and N1 categories failed to pass these test and neither did they conform to emission standards.
M1 category includes vehicles which have capacity to seat passengers, excluding the driver’s seat; while N1 category comprises of goods carriers (commercial vehicles) with maximum mass of 3,500 kgs.
The quadricycle comes under M1 category and is a lightweight four wheeler slated for intra city travel. The government notification of February 19, 2014 was followed by several high courts in India having issued stay orders over the introduction of these quadricycle which is the reason why they have not been launched in India to date.
Government of India has also introduced stringent norms for new models to comply with minimum frontal and side crash tests besides pedestrian protection tests to come into effect from October 2017. This new norm will require automakers to install airbags and ABS on all vehicles, making cars in India safer than ever. For now, it remains to be seem if the government acts on the interim order from Gauhati High Court (very unlikely).
Crash Test results of made in India small cars