MOTOR VEHICLES DEPARTMENT
The Motor Vehicles Department with head-quarters at Bombay is concerned with the administration of Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1939; the Bombay Motor Vehicles Rules, 1969; the Bombay Vehicles Tax Act, 1958; the Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Rules, 1959; the Bombay Motor Vehicles (Taxation of Passengers) Act, 1958; the Bombay Motor Vehicles (Taxation of Passengers) Rules, 1959; the Maharashtra Tax on Goods (Carried by Road) Act, 1962; the Maharashtra Tax on Goods (Carried by Road) Rules, 1962, and also Motor Cars, Scooters and Commercial Vehicles (Distribution and Sales) Control Orders.
The department is headed by the Director of Transport, Bombay, assisted by the Regional Transport Officers. For the convenience of the motoring public, a sub-office under the charge of Motor Vehicles Inspector, has been set up at Sholapur. The jurisdiction of Regional Transport Officer, Pune, extends over the district of Sholapur. Under the Motor Vehicles Tax and the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act of 1956, all motor vehicles have to be registered, all drivers have to take out a licence, which is given only on their passing the prescribed test of competence, the hours of work of drivers of transport vehicles are to be restricted, and third party insurance of all vehicles plying in public places has to be effected. It gives power to the State Government to subject vehicles to strict mechanical tests and to control the number of vehicles to be licensed for public hire, specifying their routes and also the freight rates. Fees are leviable for registration and for issue of licences and permits.
State Transport Authority: There is a State Transport Authority for the State, and Regional Transport Authorities have been set up for convenient regions in the State. The State Transport Authority co-ordinates the activities of the Regional Transport Authorities. The Regional Transport Authority controls the motor transport in the region and deals with the issue of permits to different categories of transport vehicles according to the policy laid down by the State Transport Authority and the State Government from time to time. It also performs such duties as grant of authorisations to drive public service vehicles and conductors' licences, taking departmental action against those permit-holders who contravene any condition of the permit, etc., and prescribing policy in certain important matters relating to motor transport in the region.
Regional Transport Officer: The Regional Transport Officer, Pune, besides being the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, is also the licensing authority and the registering authority under the several enactments enumerated above. He is assisted by Assistant Regional Transport Officers, Regional Supervisors, Motor Vehicles Inspectors, Assistant Motor Vehicles Inspectors, along with the necessary ministerial staff at the head-quarters.
Motor Vehicles Inspector: The duties of Motor Vehicles Inspectors are to inspect transport vehicles (goods vehicles, buses and cabs) and issue certificate of fitness, to inspect vehicles for registration, to carry out tests of competency of persons to drive motor vehicles. to carry out tests of persons applying for grant of conductors' licences in stage carriages, to inspect vehicles involved in accidents whenever their services are requisitioned by the Police to carry out tours for the purposes of enforcement of the provisions of Motor Vehicles Acts and Rules and to check and report infringements to the Regional Transport Officer for further action, to collect taxes and issue learner's licences and to effect renewal of driving licences and conductors' licences at tour centres. The Assistant Motor Vehicles Inspectors generally do not act independently but assist the Motor Vehicles Inspectors in the discharge of their duties.
The District Magistrate is concerned with the department in connection with the imposition of restrictions on road transport, fixation of speed-limits and location of motor-stands at various places, etc.
Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Act: Under the Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Act, taxes are levied on all motor vehicles except those designated and used solely for agricultural operations on farms and farm lands. The taxes are imposed according to the types of vehicles and their laden and unladen weight. The Act has removed all municipal and State tolls on motor vehicles. When a vehicle is to be registered within the State, the registering authority, i.e., the Regional Transport Officer/Assistant Regional Transport Officer has to verify the particulars furnished in the application for registration, viz., the make of vehicle, its capacity, etc. and determine the rate of the tax for which the vehicle is liable. Every registered owner who wants to use or keep for use any vehicle in the State has to pay the tax determined. In respect of transport vehicle the limits within which the vehicle will be plied has also to be stated. A token for the payment of tax is issued by the taxation authority and this has to be attached to and carried on the vehicle at all times when the vehicle is in use in a public place. A fresh declaration has to be made annually, or every time the tax has to be paid, i.e., quarterly, half-yearly or annually. The taxation authority, before issuing the token in respect of the payment of the tax, has to satisfy itself that every declaration is complete in
all respects and the proper amount of tax has been paid. Every owner of a motor vehicle keeping his vehicle in non-use during any period has to give advance intimation of his intention of keeping his vehicle in non-use for any period for which he desires to be exempted from the payment of tax and declare the place or garage where the vehicle is kept while in non-use.
Bombay Motor Vehicles Act, 1958: The Bombay Motor Vehicles (Taxation of Passengers) Act, 1958, envisages levy and payment to the State Government of a tax on all passengers carried by stage carriages, including stage carriages used as contract carriages at the rate of 15 per cent of the amount of the fares payable to the operator of the stage carriages except where such stage carriages ply exclusively within a municipal area or exclusively on such routes serving municipal and adjacent areas as may be approved by the State Government.
Maharashtra Tax on Goods Act, 1962: The Maharashtra Tax on Goods (Carried by Road) Act, 1962, came into force with effect from October 1, 1962. The tax in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the rules made thereunder is leviable on goods carried by the operators of public goods vehicles at the rate of 3 per cent of the freight charged for the carriage of the goods and in the case of a private goods vehicle it is at the rate of four-tenths of a paisa per metric tonne per kilometre. The Act and Rules made thereunder also require the operators to submit periodical returns and to maintain the relevant account and records which are to be produced before the Taxation Authority whenever required. The operator, however, is permitted to make payment on lump sum basis for which necessary permission is to be obtained at the commencement of every financial year or whenever the liability arises for the first time. The rate of lump sum tax is based on the load capacity of a motor vehicle and the tax is payable annually or for one or more quarters. On payment of the tax due, the Taxation Authority issues the necessary certificate of payment which has to be carried on the motor vehicles whenever in use in a public place. Exemption from payment of the tax on the ground of non-use is admissible in the case of those who opt to pay tax on lump sum basis and only where (i) the non-use of the vehicle is, or shall be for a continuous period of not less than three complete calendar months and (ii) the Taxation Authority is satisfied that the motor vehicle has been exempted from the tax imposed under the Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Act, 1958 on the ground of non-use for the period in question.