Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

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Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
Parliament of India
Enacted byParliament of India
Amended by
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) act, 2019
Status: Amended

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 The Act came into force from 1 July 1989. It replaced Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 which earlier replaced the first such enactment Motor Vehicles Act, 1914.

[1] The act is amended by The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) act, 2019. The Act provides in detail the legislative provisions regarding licensing of drivers/conductors, registration of motor vehicles, control of motor vehicles through permits, special provisions relating to state transport undertakings, traffic regulation, insurance, liability, offences and penalties, etc. For exercising the legislative provisions of the Act, the Government of India made the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989.[2]


Some of the definitions from the act are given below:

  • Motor vehicle: Any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon roads whether the power of propulsion is transmitted from an external or internal source of power. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, like the earlier Act of 1939, makes the insurance of motor vehicles compulsory. The owner of every motor vehicle is bound to insure his vehicle against third party risk. The insurance company, i.e, the insurer covers risk of loss to the third party by the use of the motor vehicle.

Accident claims[edit]

There is a provision to provide 500,000 (US$6,600) with no upper limit, as interim relief to the family of a victim of fatal accidents. The cases of road accident compensation claims are decided in the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.[3]

Previous laws[edit]

The "Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1914"[4] was a central legislation passed and applicable in British India. Some princely states followed suit, with local modifications.[5] Motor vehicles were first introduced in India towards the end of the 19th century, and the 1914 Act was the first legislation to regulate their use.[6] It had 18 sections, and gave local governments the responsibility of registering and licensing vehicles and motorists, and enforcing regulations.[5] It was replaced by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, which came into force in 1940.


Indian Motor Vehicles Acts, from 1914-2016[edit]

The "Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1914" was amended by the "Indian Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1920" (Act No. XXVII of 1920) passed by the Imperial Legislative Council. It received assent from the Governor General of India on 2 September 1920. The Act amended sections 11 and 18 of the 1914 Act.[7]

The Act was amended again by the "Indian Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1924" (Act No. XV of 1924). The Act received assent from the Governor General on 18 September 1924. It had the title, "An Act further to amend the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1914, for certain purposes" and amended section 11 of the 1914 Act by inserting the words "and the duration for which" after the words "area in which" in clause (a) of subsection (2) of section 11.[8] The motor vehicle act has again been amended in 2016.

Indian Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act,2017[edit]

This will be a significant upgrade to the motor vehicle laws. It envisages body cams on traffic cops and RTO officials to check corruption and 7-year imprisonment instead of current 2 years for drink-driving deaths, mandatory 3rd party insurance for all vehicles, and stiffer penalties for traffic violations to reduce the accident rates.[9]

However due to frequent disruptions in Rajya Sabha and lack of support from Indian National Congress, the bill failed to turn into act and lapsed after the conclusion of interim budget session and on the account of general elections.[10]

Indian Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019[edit]

Motor Vehicles amendment Act has came in to force on 1 September 2019, providing higher penalties for traffic offences.[11]


  1. ^ "Introduction" (PDF). The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 May 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989". Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Government to amend MV Act for simplifying accident claims", The New Indian Express, 8 July 2016
  4. ^ "THE MOTOR VEHICLE ACT 1988 Indian Bare Acts - India Bare Act - Law Firm Lawyers India".
  5. ^ a b "An efficient and vibrant Road Transport System". Orissa Motor Vehicles Department. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  6. ^ Debroy, Bibek; Kaushik, P.D. "Background Paper on Barriers to Inter-State Trade and Commerce: The Case of Road Transport". Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies. Retrieved 6 October 2014. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ Imperial Legislative Council; Governor General of India (1921). "The Acts passed by the Governor General of India in Council in the year 1920" (PDF). Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing, India. p. 166. Retrieved 6 July 2014. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. ^ Imperial Legislative Council; Governor General of India. "Titles of the Acts of the Indian Legislature and of the Governor General for the year 1924" (PDF). Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing, India. p. 211. Retrieved 6 July 2014. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ Panel wants body cams on traffic cops, RTO officials, Economic Times, 23 Dec 2017.
  10. ^ "Amendments to Motor Vehicle Act, Chit Fund Act, among 38 Bills set to lapse". @businessline. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  11. ^ Singh, N. Ajith (January 2020). "Sentiment Analysis on Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019 an Initiative by Government of India to follow traffic rule". 2020 International Conference on Computer Communication and Informatics (ICCCI). IEEE: 1–5. doi:10.1109/iccci48352.2020.9104207. ISBN 978-1-7281-4514-3. S2CID 219318185.

External links[edit]