The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

1st. July, 1989.

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to motor vehicles.BE it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-ninth Year of the Republic of India as follows:—

Chapter I Preliminary

1. Short title, extent and commencement.—

(1)This Act may be called the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.(2)It extends to the whole of India.(3)It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint; and different dates may be appointed for different State and any reference in this Act to the commencement of this Act shall, in relation to a State, be construed as a reference to the coming into force of this Act in that State.

2. Definitions.—

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—(1)“area”, in relation to any provision of this Act, means such area as the State Government may, having regard to the requirements of that provision, specify by notification in the Official Gazette;(2)“articulated vehicle” means a motor vehicle to which a semitrailer is attached;(3)“axle weight” means in relation to an axle of a vehicle the total weight transmitted by the several wheels attached to that axle to the surface on which the vehicle rests;(4)“certificate of registration” means the certificate issued by a competent authority to the effect that a motor vehicle has been duly registered in accordance with the provisions of Chapter IV;(5)“conductor”, in relation to a stage carriage, means a person engaged in collecting fares from passengers, regulating their entrance into, or exit from, the stage carriage and performing such other functions as may be prescribed;(6)“conductor’s licence” means the licence issued by a competent authority under Chapter III authorising the person specified therein to act as a conductor;(7)“contract carriage” means a motor vehicle which carries a passenger or passenger or passengers for hire or reward and is engaged under a contract, whether expressed or implied, for the use of such vehicle as a whole for the carriage of passengers mentioned therein and entered into by a person with a holder of a permit in relation to such vehicle or any person authorised by him in this behalf on a fixed or an agreed rate or sum—(a)on a time basis, whether or not with reference to any route or distance; or(b)from one point to another,and in either case, without stopping to pick up or set down passengers not included in the contract anywhere during the journey, and includes—(i)a maxicab; and(ii)a motor cab notwithstanding that separate fares are charged for its passengers;(8)“dealer” includes a person who is engaged—(a)***(b)in building bodies for attachment to chassis; or(c)in the repair of motor vehicles; or(d)in the business of hypothecation, leasing or hire-purchase of motor vehicle;(9)“driver” includes, in relation to a motor vehicle which is drawn by another motor vehicle, the person who acts as a steersman of the drawn vehicle;(10)“driving licence” means the licence issued by a competent authority under Chapter II authorising the person specified therein to drive, otherwise than as a learner, a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle of any specified class or description;(11)“educational institution bus” means an omnibus, which is owned by a college, school or other educational institution and used solely for the purpose of transporting students or staff of the educational institution in connection with any of its activities;(12)“fares” includes sums payable for a season ticket or in respect of the hire of a contract carriage;(13)“goods” includes live-stock, and anything (other than equipment ordinarily used with the vehicle) carried by a vehicle except living persons, but does not include luggage or personal effects carried in a motor car or in a trailer attached to a motor car or the personal luggage of passengers travelling in the vehicle;(14)“goods carriage” means any motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use solely for the carriage of goods, or any motor vehicle not so constructed or adapted when used for the carriage of goods;(15)“gross vehicle weight” means in respect of any vehicle the total weight of the vehicle and load certified and registered by the registering authority as permissible for that vehicle;(16)“heavy goods vehicle” means any goods carriage the gross vehicle weight of which, or a tractor or a road-roller the unladen weight of either of which, exceeds 12,000 kilograms;(17)“heavy passenger motor vehicle” means any public service vehicle or private service vehicle or educational institution bus or omnibus the gross vehicle weight of any of which, or a motor car the unladen weight of which, exceeds 12,000 kilograms;(18)“invalid carriage” means a motor vehicle specially designed and constructed, and not merely, adapted, for the use of a person suffering from some physical defect or disability, and used solely by or for such a person;(19)“learner’s licence” means the licence issued by a competent authority under Chapter II authorising the person specified therein to drive as a learner, a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle of any specified class or description;(20)“licensing authority” means an authority empowered to issue licences under Chapter II or, as the case may be, Chapter III;(21)“light motor vehicle” means a transport vehicle or omnibus the gross vehicle weight of either of which or a motor car or tractor or road-roller the unladen weight of any of which, does not exceed 7500 kilograms;(21A)“manufacturer” means a person who is engaged in the manufacture of motor vehicles;(22)“maxicab” means any motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six passengers, but not more than twelve passengers, excluding the driver, for hire or reward;(23)“medium goods vehicle” means any goods carriage other than a light motor vehicle or a heavy goods vehicle;(24)“medium passenger motor vehicle” means any public service vehicle or private service vehicle, or educational institution bus other than a motor cycle, invalid carriage, light motor vehicle or heavy passenger motor vehicle;(25)“motorcab” means any motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry not more than six passengers excluding the driver for hire or reward;(26)“motor car” means any motor vehicle other than a transport vehicle, omnibus, road-roller, tractor, motor cycle or invalid carriage;(27)“motor cycle” means a two-wheeled motor vehicle, inclusive of any detachable side-car having an extra wheel, attached to the motor vehicle;(28)“motor vehicle” or “vehicle” means any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon roads whether the power of propulsion is transmitted thereto from an external or internal source and includes a chassis to which a body has not been attached and a trailer; but does not include a vehicle running upon fixed rails or a vehicle of a special type adapted for use only in a factory or in any other enclosed premises or a vehicle having less than four wheels fitted with engine capacity of not exceeding twenty-five cubic centimetres;(29)“omnibus” means any motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six persons excluding the driver;(30)“owner” means a person in whose name a motor vehicle stands registered, and where such person is a minor, the guardian of such minor, and in relation to a motor vehicle which is the subject of a hire-purchase, agreement, or an agreement of lease or an agreement of hypothecation, the person in possession of the vehicle under that agreement;(31)“permit” means a permit issued by a State or Regional Transport Authority or an authority prescribed in this behalf under this Act authorising the use of a motor vehicle as a transport vehicle;(32)“prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act;(33)“private service vehicle” means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six persons excluding the driver and ordinarily used by or on behalf of the owner of such vehicle for the purpose of carrying persons for, or in connection with, his trade or business otherwise than for hire or reward but does not include a motor vehicle used for public purposes;(34)“public place” means a road, street, way or other place, whether a thoroughfare or not, to which the public have a right of access, and includes any place or stand at which passengers are picked up or set down by a stage carriage;(35)“public service vehicle” means any motor vehicle used or adapted to be used for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward, and includes a maxicab, a motorcab, contract carriage, and stage carriage;(36)“registered axle weight” means in respect of the axle of any vehicle, the axle weight certified and registered by the registering authority as permissible for that axle;(37)“registering authority” means an authority empowered to register motor vehicles under Chapter IV;(38)“route” means a line of travel which specifies the highway which may be traversed by a motor vehicle between one terminus and another;(39)“semi-trailer” means a vehicle not mechanically propelled (other than a trailer), which is intended to be connected to a motor vehicle and which is so constructed that a portion of it is super¬imposed on, and a part of whose weight is borne by, that motor vehicle;(40)“stage carriage” means a motor vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than six passengers excluding the driver for hire or reward at separate fares paid by or for individual passengers, either for the whole journey or for stages of the journey;(41)“State Government” in relation to a Union territory means the Administrator thereof appointed under article 239 of the Constitution;(42)“State transport undertaking” means any undertaking providing road transport service, where such undertaking is carried on by,—(i)the Central Government or a State Government;(ii)any Road Transport Corporation established under section 3 of the Road Transport Corporations Act, 1950 (64 of 1950);(iii)any municipality or any corporation or company owned or controlled by the Central Government or one or more State Governments, or by the Central Government and one or more State Governments;(iv)Zilla Parishad or any other similar local authority.Explanation.—For the purposes of this clause, “road transport service” means a service of motor vehicles carrying passengers or goods or both by road for hire or reward;(43)“tourist vehicle” means a contract carriage constructed or adapted and equipped and maintained in accordance with such specifications as may be prescribed in this behalf;(44)“tractor” means a motor vehicle which is not itself constructed to carry any load (other than equipment used for the purpose of propulsion); but excludes a road-roller;(45)“traffic signs” includes all signals, warning sign posts, direction posts, markings on the road or other devices for the information, guidance or direction of drivers of motor vehicles;(46)“trailer” means any vehicle, other than a semi-trailer and a side-car, drawn or intended to be drawn by a motor vehicle;(47)“transport vehicle” means a public service vehicle, a goods carriage, an educational institution bus or a private service vehicle;(48)“unladen weight” means the weight of a vehicle or trailer including all equipment ordinarily used with the vehicle or trailer when working, but excluding the weight of a driver or attendant; and where alternative parts or bodies are used the unladen weight of the vehicle means the weight of the vehicle with the heaviest such alternative part or body;(49)“weight” means the total weight transmitted for the time being by the wheels of a vehicle to the surface on which the vehicle rests.

2A. e-cart and e-rickshaw.—

(1)Save as otherwise provided in the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 7 and sub-section (10) of section 9, the provisions of this Act shall apply to e-cart and e-rickshaw.(2) For the purposes of this section, “e-cart or e-rickshaw” means a special purpose battery powered vehicle of power not exceeding 4000 watts, having three wheels for carrying goods or passengers, as the case may be, for hire or reward, manufactured, constructed or adapted, equipped and maintained in accordance with such specifications, as may be prescribed in this behalf.

Chapter II Licensing of drivers of motor vehicles

3. Necessity for driving licence.—

(1)No person shall drive a motor vehicle in any public place unless he holds an effective driving licence issued to him authorising him to drive the vehicle; and no person shall so drive a transport vehicle other than a motor cab or motor cycle hired for his own use or rented under any scheme made under sub-section (2) of section 75 unless his driving licence specifically entitles him so to do.(2)The conditions subject to which sub-section (1) shall not apply to a person receiving instructions in driving a motor vehicle shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

4. Age limit in connection with driving of motor vehicles.—

(1)No person under the age of eighteen years shall drive a motor vehicle in any public place:Provided that a motor cycle with engine capacity not exceeding 50cc out gear may be driven in a public place by a person after attaining the age of sixteen years.(2)Subject to the provisions of section 18, no person under the age of twenty years shall drive a transport vehicle in any public place.(3)No learner’s licence or driving licence shall be issued to any person to drive a vehicle of the class to which he has made an application unless he is eligible to drive that class of vehicle under this section.

5. Responsibility of owners of motor vehicles for contravention of sections 3 and 4.—

No owner or person in charge of a motor vehicle shall cause or permit any person who does not satisfy the provisions of section 3 or section 4 to drive the vehicle.

6. Restrictions on the holding of driving licences.—

(1)No person shall, while he holds any driving licence for the time being in force, hold any other driving licence except a learner’s licence or a driving licence issued in accordance with the provisions of section 18 or a document authorising, in accordance with the rules made under section 139, the person specified therein to drive a motor vehicle.(2)No holder of a driving licence or a learner’s licence shall permit it to be used by any other person.(3)Nothing in this section shall prevent a licensing authority having the jurisdiction referred to in sub-section (1) of section 9 from adding to the classes of vehicles which the driving licence authorises the holder to drive.

7. Restrictions on the granting of learner’s licences for certain vehicles.—

(1)No person shall be granted a learner's licence to drive a transport vehicle unless he has held a driving licence to drive a light motor vehicle for at least one year:Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall apply to an e-cart or e-rickshaw.(2) No person under the age of eighteen years shall be granted a learner’s licence to drive a motor cycle without gear except with the consent in writing of the person having the care of the person desiring the learner’s licence.

8. Grant of learner’s licence.—

(1)Any person who is not disqualified under section 4 for driving a motor vehicle and who is not for the time being disqualified for holding or obtaining a driving licence may, subject to the provisions of section 7, apply to the licensing authority having jurisdiction in the area—(i)in which he ordinarily resides or carries on business, or(ii)in which the school or establishment referred to in section 12 from where he intends to receive instruction in driving a motor vehicle is situate,for the issue to him of a learner’s licence.(2)Every application under sub-section (1) shall be in such form and shall be accompanied by such documents and with such fee as may be prescribed by the Central Government.(3)Every application under sub-section (1) shall be accompanied by a medical certificate in such form as may be prescribed by the Central Government and signed by such registered medical practitioner, as the State Government or any person authorised in this behalf by the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint for this purpose:Provided that no such medical certificate is required for licence to drive a vehicle other than a transport vehicle.(4)If, from the application or from the medical certificate referred to in sub-section (3), it appears that the applicant is suffering from any disease or disability which is likely to cause the driving by him of a motor vehicle of the class which he would be authorised by the learner’s licence applied for to drive to be a source of danger to the public or to the passengers, the licensing authority shall refuse to issue the learner’s licence:Provided that a learner’s licence limited to driving an invalid carriage may be issued to the applicant, if the licensing authority is satisfied that he is fit to drive such a carriage.(5)No learner’s licence shall be issued to any applicant unless he passes to the satisfaction of the licensing authority such test as may be prescribed by the Central Government.(6)When an application has been duly made to the appropriate licensing authority and the applicant has satisfied such authority of his physical fitness under sub-section (3) and has passed to the satisfaction of the licensing authority the test referred to in sub-section (5), the licensing authority shall, subject to the provisions of section 7, issue the applicant a learner’s licence unless the applicant is disqualified under section 4 for driving a motor vehicle or is for the time being disqualified for holding or obtaining a licence to drive a motor vehicle:Provided that a licensing authority may issue a learner’s licence to drive a motor cycle or a light motor vehicle notwithstanding that it is not the appropriate licensing authority, if such authority is satisfied that there is good reason for the applicant’s inability to apply to the appropriate licensing authority.(7)Where the Central Government is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, it may, by rules made in this behalf, exempt generally, either absolutely or subject to such conditions as may be specified in the rules, any class of persons from the provisions of sub-section (3), or sub-section (5), or both.(8)Any learner’s licence for driving a motor cycle in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall, after such commencement, be deemed to be effective for driving a motor cycle with or without gear.

9. Grant of driving licence—

(1)Any person who is not for the time being disqualified for holding or obtaining a driving licence may apply to the licensing authority having jurisdiction in the area—(i)in which he ordinarily resides or carries on business, or(ii)in which the school or establishment referred to in section 12 from where he is receiving or has received instruction in driving a motor vehicle is situated,for the issue to him of a driving licence.(2)Every application under sub-section (1) shall be in such form and shall be accompanied by such fee and such documents as may be prescribed by the Central Government.(3)If the applicant passes such test as may be prescribed by the Central Government, he shall be issued the driving licence:Provided that no such test shall be necessary where the applicant produces proof to show that—(a)(i)the applicant has previously held a driving licence to drive such class of vehicle and that the period between the data of expiry of that licence and the date of the application does not exceed five years, or(ii)the applicant holds or has previously held a driving licence to drive such class of vehicle issued under section 18, or(iii)the applicant holds a driving licence to drive such class of vehicle issued by a competent authority of any country outside India, subject to the condition that the applicant complies with the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 8,(b)the applicant is not suffering from any disability which is likely to cause the driving by him to be a source of danger to the public; and the licensing authority may, for that purpose, require the applicant to produce a medical certificate in the same form and in the same manner as is referred to in sub-section (3) of section 8:Provided further that where the application is for a driving licence to drive a motor vehicle (not being a transport vehicle), the licensing authority may exempt the applicant from the test of competence to drive a vehicle prescribed under this sub-section, if the applicant possesses a driving certificate issued by any institution recognised in this behalf by the State Government.(4)Where the application is for a licence to drive a transport vehicle, no such authorisation shall be granted to any applicant unless he possesses such minimum educational qualification as may be prescribed by the Central Government and a driving certificate issued by a school or establishment referred to in section 12.(5)Where the applicant does not pass the test; he may be permitted to re-appear for the test after a period of seven days:Provided that where the applicant does not pass the test even after three appearances, he shall not be qualified to re-appear for such test before the expiry of a period of sixty days from the date of last such test.(6)The test of competence to drive shall be carried out in a vehicle of the type to which the application refers:Provided that a person who passed a test in driving a motor cycle with gear shall be deemed also to have passed a test in driving a motor cycle without gear.(7)When any application has been duly made to the appropriate licensing authority and the applicant has satisfied such authority of his competence to drive, the licensing authority shall issue the applicant a driving licence unless the applicant is for the time being disqualified for holding or obtaining a driving licence:Provided that a licensing authority may issue a driving licence to drive a motor cycle or a light motor vehicle notwithstanding that it is not the appropriate licensing authority, if the licensing authority is satisfied that there is good and sufficient reason for the applicant’s inability to apply to the appropriate licensing authority:Provided further that the licensing authority shall not issue a new driving licence to the applicant, if he had previously held a driving licence, unless it is satisfied that there is good and sufficient reason for his inability to obtain a duplicate copy of his former licence.(8)If the licensing authority is satisfied, after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard, that he—(a)is a habitual criminal or a habitual drunkard; or(b)is a habitual addict to any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance within the meaning of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (61 of 1985); or(c)is a person whose licence to drive any motor vehicle has, at any time earlier, been revoked,it may, for reasons to be recorded tin writing, ma

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