The ‘Gujarat model’ was very much talked about in 2014. The latest ‘Vijay Rupani model’, in regard to the Motor Vehicle Act, 2019 and the fines mandated under it is quite relevant amidst discontent among motorists. On September 10, Gujarat announced a reduction in fines by up to 90%. As per the new rules, there is a fine of ₹1000 if a motorist fails to wear a helmet. There was a news report about a car driver who, after being fined for not wearing a helmet, has now started wearing one constantly. Another motorist pasted necessary documents, like RC, Insurance and driving license, on his helmet to avoid fines.
Even if the motorist is wearing a helmet but the strap is out of place, they are instructed to swiftly change the head guard. This is the other side of the new and strict rule. The touts are making hay while the implementation goes on. They have also increased their commission exorbitantly, as a news report hinted.
Maybe the Gujarat CM has realised the people’s agony and suffering and reduced the fine to ₹500 for not wearing a helmet, in case of the first violation. His kindness does not end here. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is ₹500, and the fine for triple riding on a two-wheeler has been lowered to merely ₹100, although, the hike will be applied in stages. But, I feel that once charged with a fine, it would stop the offender from committing the same folly again.
His decision was taken the following deep deliberations, and the people of Gujarat will definitely appreciate it. I will say that mild restrictions are better than a tight slap. The union minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, thinks that strict rules are necessary to punish violators of traffic rules. But, CM Vijay Rupani has expanded his heart and has shown mercy on vehicle users. He appears more like a doctor who administers a slow dose of medicines for recovery. His idea is humane and people-friendly. Can fear be imposed through stringent rules? Those states, which are proceeding slowly in implementing the new traffic act seem to be checking protest against the hefty fines, if anger and discontent would rise to a crescendo. Are the rules for the people, or are people for harsher rules?