If Shah Bano case verdict can be reversed, why not traffic fines, asks Maharashtra Transport Minister

 thehindu.com  09/13/2019 20:36:55 

If a court decision in the Shah Bano case could be reversed then why couldnt amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act that have raised traffic fines manifold also be rolled back, Maharashtras Transport Minister Diwakar Raote asked on Friday.

Poll-bound Maharashtra has decided to put on hold the implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, and termed the new fines exorbitant. Mr. Raote has also written a letter to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari requesting reductions in the fines.

Peoples sentiments need to be taken into consideration always, said Mr. Raote, addressing a press conference. If a Shah Bano case verdict can be reversed owing to public sentiment, then similarly peoples sentiments have to be considered here as well, he said.

The Shah Bano case verdict is considered one of the milestones in Indian judiciary, where the Supreme Court upheld her right to receive maintenance from her divorced husband. However, the verdict was overturned by the then Congress government through the enactment of a legislation in Parliament, which in turn came under sharp criticism from the Opposition of surrendering to a section of the Muslim community.

In a separate press conference in Mumbai, Mr. Gadkari had said that Mr. Raote had been a part of the committee of ministers that gave its approval to the amendments in the law.

Yes, of course I was the part of the committee, said Mr. Raote. But I missed few meetings as well. There were ministers from different States and the decision was taken. But if it is going against the peoples will then it can be reversed, he added.

The Maharashtra government was yet to hear from Mr. Gadkaris ministry on its letter seeking reversal of the decision. We have not received any reply as of now... once we get the reply, I will talk to the Chief Minister about whether to implement it or not, said Mr. Raote.

Addressing the media earlier, Mr. Gadkari had supported his departments decision to increase the fine. If you wont break the law, you wont be fined. The old fines were 30-years-old. People were not afraid of it, neither they had respect for the law. This has been done to save peoples lives. Maharashtra CM has assured me that this will be implemented in the State, he had said.

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