Truck drivers protest: The government claims that new rules have not yet been applied and that a decision will be made only after.


Truck drivers protest: Truck drivers demonstrate against the hit-and-run law: According to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, the new rule has not yet been enforced. “Before implementing Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 106/2, we will have a discussion with All India Motor Transport Congress representatives…,” he went on to say.

Truck drivers protest:
Nagpur: Truck drivers shout slogans during their protest against the new penal provisions in the hit-and-run law. (Source: PTI)

 

The Ministry of Home Affairs promised truckers’ organisation representatives on Tuesday that a decision on penalty in hit-and-run cases under the new Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) will be made only after a meeting with members of the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).

Truckers protesting the hit-and-run law across the country were asked to resume work immediately following a late-evening deal between the transport agency representing them and the government. The new law, which allows for up to ten years in prison in hit-and-run cases, has not yet been applied, according to the government, who added that any decision would be made only after consultations with the transport authority.

Meanwhile, Ajay Bhalla, Union Home Secretary, stated on behalf of the Centre that the new rule has not yet been enforced. “We all want to say that before implementing Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 106/2, we will have a discussion with All India Motor Transport Congress representatives and then only we will take a decision,” he said.

According to Amrit Lal Madan, President of the All India Motor Transport Congress, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has put the ten-year sentence and fine on hold.

“Until the next meeting of the All India Motor Transport Congress is held, no laws will be imposed,” Madan informed protesting truckers during a meeting with the administration.

Protesters were asked to return to work the following day. “We met and reviewed the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita clauses, and all difficulties have been resolved…The law has not yet taken effect, and I guarantee you that we will not allow it to do so. “We urge you to return to your vehicles and resume driving without fear,” said Malkit Singh Bal, chairman of the AIMTC.

Why were truck drivers protesting?

In the Winter Session 2023, Parliament passed three new criminal laws, including Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS). Earlier in the day, ANI reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs is expected to notify the three new criminal justice statutes that will replace colonial laws, namely the IPC, the CrPC, and the Evidence Act, before January 26.

On Monday, some truck, bus, and tanker drivers began a three-day strike in protest of the new criminal statute Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) for hit-and-run cases.

For serious traffic accidents caused by careless driving and if drivers flee without telling the police, the new law provides for up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of Rs. 7 lakh.

According to truckers, most truck drivers chose to flee even in minor accidents rather than face mob punishment and risk their lives. While mobs are usually unpunished, placing harsh penalty on drivers is unfair.

A truck driver informed PTI about his concerns with the regulation, saying, “Most drivers are labourers who survive on daily wages.” How can we pay a ten lakh fine and five years in prison? I simply ask that lawmakers consider us before passing such legislation.”

The three-day strike has caused havoc at petrol outlets across India. Around one lakh trucks transport fuel, gasoline and LPG from oil company facilities to petrol stations and distribution agencies. As a result of the truck drivers’ protest, people worried about a fuel scarcity. This resulted in “panic buying” of fuel and diesel, with people queuing at petrol stations.

The government and transporters agreed that transport workers would start work immediately, and they called to truck drivers to do the same.

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