Speaking for Indians abroad who were caught off guard with the implementation of the new traffic rules in India, Kerala transport minister AK Saseendran in a letter to Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari requested a one-time exception be made for NRIs to renew their expired licenses.
"Kerala has a large population of NRIs who generally come home only once in 5 years to the state. They are finding it difficult to renew their license as the earlier provision of allowing renewal within 5 years of expiry has been changed to within one year," the minister’s letter said.
"Taking further tests in case of non-renewal within one year is a hardship as no exemption is given to those who could not renew it in the last 1-5 years. Hence as a one-time measure, those who have a license which expired in the last five years may be permitted to renew without undergoing the test as was applicable till September 1st."
The letter also called for flexibility to fix fines under the amended Motor Vehicles Act at rates proportionate to the gravity of the offences and which are affordable by all.
"The fines fixed in the Act as per the proposal of the Government of India are very high and disproportionate to the gravity of offences. Hence, there is large scale public protest in this regard," Saseendran said in the letter.
The minister added that as per section 200 of the Act, Government of Kerala has issued the notification revising the compounding fee with effect from September 1.
Kerala has joined states that are refusing to accept hefty fines on motorists as part of the amended Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019. Saseendran told reporters that the state is likely to refrain from imposing the revised fines until further clarifications are available.