Parents Beware : Handing Over Vehicle To Your Child Could Land You In Jail Now

Parents Beware : Handing Over Vehicle To Your Child Could Land You In Jail Now

The Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019, which received the assent of the President on August 9, has included stringent provisions in the principal Act to curb the tendency of children using vehicles.

As per the newly inserted Section 199A, where a motor vehicle offence has been committed by a juvenile, the parent or guardian of such juvenile or the owner of the motor vehicle shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

The explanation in the Section states that the Court shall presume that the use of the motor vehicle by the juvenile was with the consent of the guardian of such juvenile or the owner of the motor vehicle.

The registration of the motor vehicle involved in an offence by juvenile will be cancelled for a period of twelve months.

In addition to penalty, the guardian or owner of such vehicle will be liable to punishment of imprisonment which may extend to three years and fine of twenty-five thousand rupees. The juvenile will be proceeded against as per provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.

The juvenile who has committed such offence will not be eligible to get driving license or learners license until the age of twenty five years.

If the guardian or owner proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence, conviction can be avoided.

During the discussion of the Bill in the Parliament, certain members expressed reservations about this provision by saying that the punishments were too stringent. It is not always possible for parents to monitor the acts of their children, some of the members said.

However, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that cases of accidents caused by children are increasing. The stringent punishments will deter such incidents by ensuring more parental supervision, the Minister said.

To read about the other key features of the amendment, click here.

The full text of Section 199A is extracted below for reference :

"199A.Offences by juveniles

(1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a juvenile, the guardian of such juvenile or the owner of the motor vehicle shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:

Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall render such guardian or owner liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, the Court shall presume that the use of the motor vehicle by the juvenile was with the consent of the guardian of such juvenile or the owner of the motor vehicle, as the case may be.

(2) In addition to the penalty under sub-section (1), such guardian or owner shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with a fine of twenty-five thousand rupees.

(3) The provisions of sub-section (1) and sub-section (2) shall not apply to such guardian or owner if the juvenile committing the offence had been granted a learner's licence under section 8 or a driving licence and was operating a motor vehicle which such juvenile was licensed to operate.

(4) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a juvenile, the registration of the motor vehicle used in the commission of the offence shall be cancelled for a period of twelve months.

(5) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a juvenile, then notwithstanding section 4 or section 7, such juvenile shall not be eligible to be granted a driving licence under section 9 or a learner's licence under section 8 until such juvenile has attained the age of twenty-five years.

(6) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a juvenile, then such juvenile shall be punishable with such fines as provided in the Act while any custodial sentence may be modified as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.