3 Jan 2024

Hit and run law: All India Motor Transport Congress agrees to end stir after talks with Center, drivers urged to return to work


An agreement was reached between the Central Government and All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on Tuesday to end the drivers strike. After this, on behalf of the government, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla told the media in New Delhi - We have assured that the new law of hit and run will not be implemented without discussion with AIMTC.

After this meeting, AIMTC and the government have appealed to the truck drivers to return to work.

The government has assured that it would engage with stakeholders before enforcing the law related to hit-and-run incidents. After extensive discussions with the government, the All-India Motor Transport Congress decided to end the agitation.

"We engaged in discussions with representatives of the All India Motor Transport Congress... the government would like to clarify that the new rule has not been put into effect yet. We want to emphasize that prior to implementing Bharatiya Nyaya Samhita 106/2, we will hold discussions with representatives of the All India Motor Transport Congress and make a decision accordingly," stated Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla this evening.

"The new laws have not been enforced. Implementation will only occur after consultations with the All India Transport Congress," affirmed Bal Malkit, the chairman of AIMTC's core committee.

Protests have erupted in several states, spanning Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.

Under the newly enacted legislation, hit-and-run incidents may result in a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a ₹7 lakh fine, a significant increase from the existing penalty of up to a two-year jail term and a lighter fine. The harshest punishment of a decade imprisonment applies when an individual, involved in reckless driving leading to a fatality, flees the scene without reporting the incident to the police.

Concerns have been raised by truckers, cab drivers, and other operators of commercial vehicles who question their ability to afford such substantial fines in the event of an accident.

Commentators have highlighted potential issues with the law, including the risk of its misuse, challenges in promptly informing authorities due to fear of public backlash, and uncertainties regarding the admissibility of evidence in case of disputes.

Earlier o Tuesday two petitions were heard in Madhya Pradesh High Court . The court had directed the state government to immediately end the strike and restore transportation.

In the light of orders of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, a high level meeting was held between Truck and School Bus Union Operators and Additional Chief Secretary Home, Secretary Transport in order to end the strike of truck drivers protesting against the new legal provision regarding Hit and Run law.

Dr. Rajoura and senior officials informed the representatives of truck, school and bus operator unions about the provisions, clarified the conditions and called upon them to cooperate with the Government and continue services and end the strike.

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