Tamil Nadu government has urged the Centre to revisit the draft Road Transport and Safety bill, 2014, which in its present form “erodes and abrogates the powers of the state government and the responsibility cast on the state” in the Indian constitution.
V Senthilbalaji, Tamil Nadu minister for Transport, said the bill had to be redrafted and called for a clause-wise examination of the proposed laws, which, he said, had been put forward at a recent joint meeting of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and Transport Development Council (TDC) in New Delhi, to discuss the bill.
“The competence of the state legislature and the state government to frame rules on road transport, public safety have been completely eroded and were sought to be vested with statutory bodies to be created under the new Act...The rationale to introduce such drastic changes and do away the existing provisions in the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, is totally unwarranted,” he said.
Under the proposed bill, there will be a Vehicle Regulation and Road Safety Authority of India, which has sweeping and wide-ranging powers for making regulations, all of which, were till now in the ambit of the state governments, with the State Safety Authority being the subordinate body, according to the minister.
“In such a situation, the state legislature cannot implement its well-planned welfare schemes without the prior approval of the National Authority. Hence, this bill seriously encroaches upon legislating competence of the states,” said the minister.
The existing provision in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which envisages the state government shall establish a Motor Vehicles department and appoint officers for the purpose of implementing the Act. However, there is no corresponding provision in the draft bill, he said.
The minister sought for the necessary modification in the bill to protect the powers of the state government.
He urged the Centre the powers of the states to establish Motor Vehicles department and appoint officers should be continued and the necessary provisions should be made in the draft bill. Also, the powers and functioning of the bodies like National Authority, National Transport Authority among others should be only advisory in nature and not regulatory or directory to the legislating powers of the State, he said.