HC Upholds Centre's Order On Crash Guards, Bull Bars In Four-Wheelers
1 mins read
Published on September 22, 2021
The Madras High Court on Tuesday upheld a 2017 notification of the Centre, ordering removal of crash guards and bull bars in the front and rear of four wheelers. The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu upheld the notification while dismissing two writ petitions from manufacturers of automobile accessories. The manufacturers challenged the December 7, 2017 notification of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the consequential acceptance and implementation thereof by the state government by its letter of December 26, 2020 issued by the Chief Secretary.
The matter pertains to the use of crash guards or bull bars in motor vehicles. There are several vehicles which do not come factory-fitted with additional guards in front of the engine, but which are subsequently fitted to protect the impact of any frontal crash on the engine. By the impugned 2017 notification, the Centre advised all the States and Union Territories to ensure that the crash guards were not permitted as the same was in contravention of Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which attracted penalty under Sections 190 and 191 thereof.
The bench pointed out that Section 52(1) of the Act prohibited a motor vehicle owner from altering the vehicle such that the particulars contained in the certificate of registration are at variance with those originally specified by the manufacturer. The second Proviso to such provision recognises the authority of the Central Government to prescribe specifications, conditions for approval, retrofitment and other related matters for the alteration of motor vehicles. The Explanation, at the foot of the Section, indicates that alteration would imply a change in the structure of the vehicle which results in a change in its basic feature.
The petitioners contended that there is no basis to the relevant notification, nor is it evident that any empirical study has been conducted to ascertain the perceived ill-effects of crash guards.
On the other hand, the other two individual petitioners submitted that the vehicles armed with heavy duty crash guards would encourage the drivers to indulge in wanton rash driving. The driver of a car without a crash guard remains wary that any frontal collision may result in physical damage to the driver. But drivers in cars fitted with crash guards have the additional confidence that they may be protected as the engine may not crumble and this would encourage irresponsible conduct, including speeding, they argued.
The bench observed that the extent that crash guards add to the length of the car, or as the manufacturers suggest, provide greater security to the front of a car, and thereby alter the basic features of a motor vehicle, there appears to be sufficient basis in the issuance of the impugned notification of December 7, 2017. At the end of the day, it appears that public interest may have impelled the Central Government to issue the notice and, on a matter of policy where the Central Government perceives that a thing is necessary in public interest, the court would not willy-nilly intervene unless it finds the policy to be absurd or objectionable to the meanest mind.
The bench also took judicial notice of the larger, higher private passenger vehicles that are fitted with crash guards and behave as bullies on roads, particularly on the highways. It also recorded that the State Government's stand is that it has accepted the Union's instructions and has enforced the prohibition in such regard in the State and hoped that the enforcement is across the board and that the so-called important persons are not exempted from the rule.
This order will not prevent any representation made by the manufacturers of crash guards to the Union for such representation to be considered in the proper perspective, if the material used for their manufacture is indicated in the representation, the bench, however, said.
Great Deals on Used CarsView All Used Cars
6 hours ago
Owned by Geely, Lotus has pledged to become fully electric by 2028
7 hours ago
It received a bid of $1,350,000 (11.25 crore) that the seller chose not to accept and re-auctioned in December.
7 hours ago
The new platform will largely use local components and has been dubbed the ‘A Main Platform’ with the first electric vehicle set to roll out in 2026, specifically for the Chinese market.
7 hours ago
The 2024 edition of the 1290 Super Adventure siblings receive new colour options for 2024
7 hours ago
MotoGP's newest grand prix winner has finally found a seat after a string of tremendous performances in the final leg of the 2023 season
8 hours ago
Maini will partner current F3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto for the 2024 F2 season
9 hours ago
Skyworth Skyhome, from China's Skywell, is set to enter production next year.
9 hours ago
The all-new Duster is based on the Bigster concept showcased earlier, and shares a lot of design elements
10 hours ago
Royal Enfield took the wraps off its latest 650 cc motorcycle, the Shotgun 650 at Motoverse 2023 in Goa. Here are the top 5 highlights of the newest Royal Enfield bike, albeit in its Motoverse edition.
11 hours ago
The 2020 Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase was commissioned by Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and served the royal family.
8 days ago
The new Mercedes-AMG C 43 is bolder, more powerful and promises to offer better performance than its predecessor, despite having a smaller engine. So, can it live up to those claims? Let’s find out!
9 days ago
Saina Nehwal shared images of her new car on social media as she took delivery of the Coupe SUV, finished in an obsidian black shade.
11 days ago
We rank the top six electric cars and SUVs on sale in India based on their highest claimed range figures as per the WLTP cycle
12 days ago
New system reduces hydraulic-based braking systems with electric motors at each wheel to generate braking force.
14 days ago
The introductory price of Rs 6.50 lakh for the Nissan Magnite EZ-Shift has now been extended till November 30