26 October 2021
Dr. Kamal Soi, International Road Safety Expert, who is also Member- National Road Safety Council, today brought to light issues in implementing the statutory rule with respect to the issuance of fitness certificates of vehicles. These shortcomings have, according to him, created impediments in effectively implementing Section 56 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1998.
Addressing a press conference, he said, as per an order of June 23, 2021, issued by Transport Commissioner has instructed all DTO cum–RTA’s across Haryana State to authorise Dealers of OEMs to operate as “Authorized Testing Stations” for conducting Fitness Testing of Vehicles. Each Authorized Testing Station shall be specific to the make of vehicles which the dealer sells as authorised dealer.
The Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019, mandates that “Fitness Testing” of all Commercial Vehicles were to be done through Automated Vehicle I & C Centres. “Date” for implementation of this provision of act is to be announced by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).
Both the MoRTH Draft Notification dated 8th April, 2021 and MoRTH Final Notification dated 23rd September, 2021 it clearly states the following:
Conflict of Interest –
1) There shall be no conflict of interest during the course of operations that may arise or may be perceived due to financial or professional interest of the Operator of an Automated Testing Station and their obligations under these rules.
Explanation – For the purposes of this rule, financial or professional interest means any personal, financial, or other considerations that may have the potential to influence or compromise the professional behaviour of the Operator of an Automated Testing Station.
2) The Automated Testing Station shall act as test-only facility and shall not provide any services related to repair of vehicles or sale or manufacturing of auto spares.
3) Testing officials shall be required to maintain strict confidentiality of information regarding test results related to vehicle make and type.
4) Operator of an Automated Testing Station shall, at all times, function in a transparent and impartial manner and must sign an undertaking with regard to provisions of sub- rules (1), (2) and (3) as specified in Form 60.
Despite these changes in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) the transport department has since gone ahead and have issued around 30 to 35 Authority letters to various dealers of OEM’s like Maruti, Tata, Ashok Leyland, Eicher, etc. to conduct fitness testing of Vehicles and issue Fitness Certificates to these Vehicles, said Dr. Soi.
“Further these dealers have been provided with access of VAHAN for accessing details of Vehicles as well as uploading the Fitness Certificate issued to the Vehicles. These Dealers do not have required testing equipment as laid out in the CMVR and have still started issuing Fitness Certificates to the Vehicles which gross violation of laws laid by Government of India. The big issue is that this whole scheme implemented by the Haryana Transport department may violate the CMVR rule no. 176 “Conflict of Interest”, he added.
“I had written about this to the Honourable Transport Minister, Haryana and the Transport Commissioner Haryana on 30th September, 2021 and brought it to his knowledge regarding of violation of both the MoRTH notifications of April and September 2021”
“As an International road safety expert my major concern is that plying of unfit motor vehicles on the roads is significantly one of the major causes of road accidents in the recent times. This is a very serious concern for road safety since it would result in jeopardising the lives of general public at large by letting compromised unfit vehicles to ply on the roads of our beloved Country”, he said.
It is necessary to ensure the implementation and execution of this policy regarding fitness centres is controlled through a system of checks and balances to ensure that only fit vehicle plies on the road . I request the Honourable Minister to kindly intervene and order that only the right and just system prevails to issue fitness certificates to the vehicles and I further request the Minister to order cancelations authorising Vehicle OEM’s dealers to issue Fitness Certificate to the Vehicles