West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that she will not implement heavy penalties for traffic violations under the new rules of the Motor Vehicles Act as it would “overburden people”, ANI reported. This came a day after the Vijay Rupani-led Gujarat government announced a reduction in the fines for traffic violations.

“We had opposed amendments in Parliament,” NDTV quoted Banerjee as saying. “If we implement the Motor Vehicles Act amendments, it will hurt general people.” She also said that the amendments to the legislation were “too harsh” and against the government’s federal structure.

The West Bengal chief minister said that money was not the solution, and that the problem needed to be seen from a “humanitarian point of view”. She also claimed that accidents had gone down in the state and West Bengal government had a “Safe Drive Save Life” campaign for road safety.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote said that he had written to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari about the exorbitant increase in the fines under the new law. “Central government is requested to reconsider and reduce the same by making suitable amendments in the Act,” the minister said, according to ANI.

Earlier this month, Rajasthan Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas had said that the state could at least reduce the fines, NDTV reported. “What does the Centre want to prove? How will this reduce road accidents?” the minister had asked. “If you penalise a couple for riding on a bike with a child and ask them to shell out Rs 2000, can a middle-class family pay such a hefty fine?”

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also announced a partial relaxation in traffic violation rules for the next three months, giving vehicle owners time to sort out their documents.

Over the past week, the Gurugram traffic police fined a two-wheeler rider Rs 23,000 for flouting multiple rules, while an auto driver was fined Rs 47,500 for traffic violations in Bhubaneswar. A truck driver in Odisha’s Sambalpur district was fined Rs 86,500. On Tuesday, it was reported that a truck driver from Rajasthan was asked to pay Rs 1.41 lakh penalty after traffic authorities in Delhi caught him for several offences, including overloading.

So far, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Odisha and Maharashtra have raised concerns about the exorbitant penalties under the amended Motor Vehicles Act. Union Transport Minister Gadkari on Wednesday asked states not to weaken the new law that has provisions for steep penalties for traffic violations. “This was done to save lives,” he said. “People need to have a fear of law. Why was the death penalty for rape after the Nirbhaya case? To create a fear of the law.”

Also read:

  1. New Motor Vehicles Act: Now a penalty of Rs 10,000 on drunk driving. Check new rules here
  2. ‘People will need loans to pay these fines’: New Motor Vehicles Act sparks tragicomic Twitter memes

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