HC stops four RTOs in Maha from doing ‘fitness’ tests on cars

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The Bombay High Court restrained four Regional Transport Offices in Maharashtra from issuing fitness certificates to four wheelers, saying they were not fully equipped to conduct the mandatory tests required under the Motor Vehicles Act.

Out of the total 49 RTOs in the state, RTOs in Latur, Nashik, Pune and Mumbai Central were prohibited from conducting mandatory tests and issuing fitness certificates on the ground that they were ill-equipped and had not complied with the order of the court issued on February 28.

The court had passed orders on February 28 asking all 49 RTOs in Maharashtra to provide the necessary infrastructure required to carry out the tests. If such condition was not complied with by March 10, the RTOs were warned that they would be restrained from issuing fitness certificates.

The government filed an affidavit admitting these four RTOs do not have the necessary facilities for conducting the tests.

Under the Motor Vehicles Act, it is mandatory for the RTOs to have 400 metres road track for testing. The vehicles are made to run at a speed of 40 kms per hour and asked to apply brakes suddenly. By doing this, the authorities find out at what distance the vehicles stop after applying brakes.

The four RTOs, which have been banned from issuing fitness certificates, have just 250 metres-long road tracks for carrying out the brake test.

It is also a mandatory rule under the Act to make the headlight beam adjustment with a machine so that the light does not fall on the face of the driver coming from the opposite side. Even this condition was not complied with by the four RTOs.

The government said in the affidavit that they had been able to procure only 12 headlight beam machines because there was a shortage of such equipment at all India level. Such machines would be required in all the 49 RTOs.

The bench today indicated that in respect of other RTOs (besides the four banned today) it would pass a detailed order on next Wednesday (March 19).

The court was hearing a PIL filed by activist Srikant Karve seeking a direction to RTOs to follow the Motor Vehicles Act.