The Motor Vehicles Act was passed by the Parliament in 1988 to regulate the motor vehicles on road and all aspects related to the motor vehicles and their owner. It deals with the facets of registration of vehicles, licenses, traffic regulation, offences and penalties, liabilities and insurance. It provides provisions for protection of innocent pedestrians who can be harmed by the vehicles on road (due to negligence of the driver or rash driving, etc.) and also provides provision for compensation that is to be made to the injured party, who are known as ’Third Party’.

When was the Motor Vehicles Act was passed?

A. The Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter referred to as The Act) was passed by the Parliament of India in 1988 and it was enforced on 1st July, 1989. It replaced the Motor Vehicles Act of 1939. As of now, the 2017 amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act – which intends to curb the number of road accidents and traffic violation with stricter penalties – is yet to receive the nod of Rajya Sabha.

Which section/s of The Act deals with registration of the vehicles?

A. From CHAPTER IV, SECT.39 onwards deals with various aspects of registration of vehicles such as necessity for registering, where and how to register, etc.

Is it necessary to get all vehicles registered?

A. According to Sect.39 of Chapter IV, no one can drive nor can the owner of a vehicle permit anyone to drive the vehicle in a public place or in any other place, unless the vehicle is registered in accordance to this chapter and the certificate of registration of the vehicle has not been suspended or cancelled. The vehicle should carry a registration mark displayed in the prescribed manner. However, subjected to conditions, the provisions of this clause will not be applicable to the motor vehicles in possession of vehicle dealers. It needs to be mentioned that Sect.39 corresponds to the Sect.22 of the same Act.

However, any person driving or owner permitting to drive vehicle without effective registration or displaying false registration marks in any public or in any other place (Using “Unregistered vehicle” or displaying “Applied For”) will held liable under Sect.39 read with Sect.192(1) of MV Act and has to pay a fine of up to Rs. 5,000 for first offence but not less than Rs. 2,000. There may be imprisonment of up to one year or up fine to Rs. 10,000 for second or subsequent offence but not less than Rs.5,000 or both.

Where and how to get the registration of vehicles done?

A. Sect.40 corresponding to Sect.23 of the Act, establishes that registration must be done by a registering authority in whose jurisdiction the owner of the vehicle has the place of residence or place of business where the vehicle is kept. Registration is done in the Regional Trasport Office (RTO). Certain documents are to be submitted to the RTO such as Form 20, identity proof, No Objection Certificate (NOC) etc., and Sect.44 which corresponds to Sect.26 of the Act, makes it compulsory for the vehicles to be produced for inspection in the office at the time of registration or renewal of certificate of registration.

However, it is the Sect.41 which elaborates on the procedure as to how to get the registration done. It provides for a form to be filled and a certain fee that needs to submitted at the time of registration such as registration fee, hypothecation charges and road tax. The registration particulars of a vehicle are kept in records by the registering authorities, the distinguishing marks and manner in which such marks consisting of letters and figures shall be exhibited in motor vehicle while driving a vehicle without displaying the number plates shall be liable under Rule 50 of CMV Rules r/w S.177 of MV Act calls for Rs. 100 for first offence and Rs. 300 for second or subsequent offence.

The certificate of registration is valid for 15 years and shall be renewable for a period of 5 years.

Can a vehicle be temporarily registered?

A. Sect.43 entitles the registering authorities to temporarily register a motor vehicle while the Central Government will give the directions as to the manner in which the certificates will be issued and registration marks are to be exhibited. The marks shall be valid for one month or more, if the registering authority so permits it. In case where there is a hire-purchase, lease or hypothecation agreement, then the certificate must incorporate the name and address of the person with whom the owner has entered into the agreement with. It corresponds to Sect.25 of the Act.

Can the registering authority refuse to register or renew the certificate of registration of any motor vehicle?

A. By an order, the registering authority may refuse to register or renew the certificate of registration of any motor vehicle if they have a reason to believe that it is a stolen motor vehicle or the vehicle is mechanically defective or fails to comply with the requirements of the Act or of the rules made in the Act, or if the applicant fails to furnish particulars of any previous registration of the vehicle or furnishes inaccurate particulars in the application for registration of the vehicle or for renewal of the certificate of registration. In case of such refusal, the registering authority is to provide a copy of such an order, stating the reasons of the refusal. Sect.45 corresponds to Sect.27 of the Act.

Where will the certificate of registration be effective in India?

A. As per Sect.46, if a motor vehicle is registered under a registering authority in any State, in accordance to the provisions of this Act, it is not required to be registered anywhere else in India and is effective everywhere throughout in India. This section corresponds to the Sect.28 of the Act.

What happens if a motor vehicle with the registration mark of a state is kept in another state?

A. According to Sect.47 which is a corresponding provision to Sect.29, it is required that a motor vehicle registered in one State and kept in another State for a period exceeding 12 months shall have to be assigned a new registration mark in that other State. The State Government is empowered to establish the procedures for applying for the new registration mark, documents to be enclosed with the application, the procedure to be followed by the registering authorities in assigning the new registration mark and ask the owners to furnish any information as required. Plying a vehicle with registration mark of other State for more than 12 months is an offence under Sect.47 r/w Sect. 177 of the MV Act and the offender has to pay Rs. 100 for first offence and Rs. 300 for second or subsequent offence.

What is a NOC?

A. A No Objection Certificate (NOC) is a legal document issued from the regional RTO for re-registration of a vehicle from one state to another. A NOC is an essential document that certifies that there are no dues of tax on the vehicle. Sect.48 which corresponds to Sect.29-A of the Act, prescribes that a NOC shall be produced along with an application for assignment of new registration mark or transfer of ownership. It lays down the procedure to make application for NOC to the registering authority, the procedure to be followed by the registering authority in issuing the NOC and in case of refusal in granting the NOC reasons to be given in writing by the registering authority.

What happens if the owner changes place of residence or place of business?

A. Sect.49 corresponds to Sect.30 of the Act. It requires that the owner of a motor vehicle shall, within 30 days, report the change of his address to the registering authority in whose jurisdiction he has shifted his residence for recording the change of address in the certificate of registration. Failure to do so will entail in prosecution. It also provides that in lieu of prosecution, if the owner of the motor vehicle pays a prescribed amount for fine, no prosecution will be launched. It also provides that if the temporary absence does not exceed 6 months, there is no need to report the change. Failure to intimate change of residence or place of business by owner of a vehicle within time prescribed calls for Sect. 49 r/w Sect.177 of the MV Act where the offender has to pay Rs. 100 for first offence and Rs. 300 for second or subsequent offence (however, the State Government may prescribe different amounts having regard to period of delay).


No-fault liability has been incorporated under Chapter X in Sections 140-144 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. Section 140 deals with liability without fault. It talks about death or permanent disability of any person arising out of the use of the motor vehicle(s).

The owner(s) shall be jointly and severally liable to pay the compensation. In case of death, the liability is fixed at Rs. 50,000, while in the case of permanent disability, the owner(s) are liable to pay Rs. 25,000. Under this section, the claimant is not required to plead negligence on part of the owner or driver. The claim for compensation by the claimant is not defeated by “wrongful act, neglect or default” on part of the person who suffered death or permanent disability.

This section also provides for claiming compensation under other provisions of the same act or any other provisions, except Section 163A of the Motor Vehicle Act,1988, that would provide relief in addition to the fixed amount provided under Section 140. The amount of compensation to be given under any other law is deducted reduced from the amount of compensation payable under this section. The provision that deals with interim compensation were added in 1994.

The phrase “accident arising out the use of a motor vehicle(s)” has been used to widen the applicability of the Section. The word “use” has a wider connotation to cover the period when the vehicle is not moving and is stationary and the use of a vehicle does not cease on account of the vehicle having been rendered immobile on account of a break-down or mechanical defect or accident.

In the case of Yellawwa v. National Insurance Co.

Section 141 contains provisions as to other rights to claim compensation for death or permanent disablement, while Section 142 defines the term “permanent disability” for the purpose of Section 140. Section 142(a) discusses “permanent privation of the sight of either eye or the hearing of either ear or privation of any member or joint.” Section 142(b) contains provision relating to “destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint”, and 142(c) discusses “permanent disfiguration of the head or face.”

Section 163A and 163B were inserted in the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 by an amendment of 1994, in view of the observations that were being by the Supreme Court in regard to no-fault liability. Through this amendment, the Second Schedule n case of “death or permanent disablement due to accident arising out of the use of motor vehicle, compensation.”

Chapter 11

 (Section 145 to 164) provides for compulsory third party insurance, which is required to be taken by every vehicle owner. It has been specified in Section 146(1) that no person shall use or allow using a motor vehicle in public place unless there is in force a policy of insurance complying with the requirement of this chapter. Contravention of the provisions of section 146 is an offence and is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both (section 1961.

Section 147 provides for the requirement of policy and limit of liability. Every vehicle owner is required to take a policy covering against any liability which may be incurred by him in respect of death or bodily injury including owner of goods or his authorized representative carried in the vehicle or damage to the property of third party and also death or bodily injury to any passenger of a public service vehicle. According to this section the policy not require covering the liability of death or injuries arising to the employees in the course of employment except to the extent of liability under Workmen Compensation Act.


(SEC 165)

Narinder Singh v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., (2014) 9 SCC 324, wherein the Court had elaborately discussed the need to register vehicles under the Act, the Bench stated, despite the same, the respondent-Corporation, with audacity, took a stand of there being no requirement for the vehicles to be registered, purportedly under a misconception that they are above the law.

Noticing that all the vehicles of the Corporation had been registered, the Bench refrained from passing further direction in this regard however, the State was directed to take appropriate action against the erring officers/officials, who negligent in performing of their statutory duty which, the Bench added, should not be construed to be only of civil nature, but also in relation to the one envisaged under Section 192 of the Act. The directions were crystallized as under:-

  • No vehicle of the Municipal Corporation or its authorities would be plied in derogation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
  • The Urban Development Department, Government of Bihar should have an enquiry conducted and take appropriate action against the erring officers/officials who were negligent in complying with the statutory provisions by allowing the vehicles to be plied for various purposes in public roads.
  • The disciplinary proceedings must be completed within four months. Simultaneously, the proceedings under Section 192 of the Act should be initiated against the erring officers/officials within a period of four months.

Reshma Kumari v. Madan Mohan

(SEC 166)

 Came up for hearing before a two member Bench, the Bench thought that the question   whether   the   multiplier   specified   in   the   second   schedule should   be   taken   to   be   a   guide   for   calculation   of   the   amount   of compensation   in   a   case   falling   under   section   166,   needed   to   be decided by a larger bench, especially in the light of the defects pointed out in  Trilok Chandra  in the Second Schedule. The three member Bench   extensively   considered  Trilok   Chandra  and   the   subsequent decisions and approved the Table provided in Sarla Verma. It was held in para 37 of the report in Reshma Kumari that the wide variations in the selection of multiplier in fatal accident cases can be avoided if Sarla Verma is followed. 

(SEC 168)

Kuldeep Singh Bawa v. Tika Ram:

The court held that Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act stipulates that the learned Tribunal must conduct an investigation into the claim petition. Section 169 of the Motor Vehicles Act illustrates that the learned Tribunal is ought to follow such summary procedure as it perceives to be appropriate to conduct such an investigation. The investigation stipulated in Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act is distinct from the civil trial. Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act casts a duty on the learned Tribunal to conduct an inquiry appropriately. The motive of the legislature behind making this provision is that the victims of road accident are not left behind.

(SEC 170)

Shankarayya And Anr. vs United India Insurance Co. Ltd.

 The Supreme Court concluded that when the Insurance Company is prosecuted as a party by the Court under Section 170, it can be permitted to contest the proceedings on merits only if the conditions antecedent mentioned in the section are found to be appropriate and for that motive, the Insurance Company has to acquire a reasoned order in writing from the Tribunal. If this is not obeyed, the Insurance Company cannot have a broad defence on merits than what is available to it by way of statutory defence.

(SEC 171)

Raj Kumar and another Vs. Kashmir Singh and others

 The Court observed that that the grant of interest on the awarded amount has been provided under section 171 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, though the word ‘may’ and not ‘shall’ is given in section 171 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, still the Tribunal while exercising its jurisdiction, may award interest on the quantum of compensation. In fact, the Claims Tribunal gives interest from the date of filing of the petition and if the said interest is not given, the Tribunal has to give proper justification for not doing so.

(SEC 173)

Anil Saraf v. Namboodas and Ors.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court while considering the first proviso to Section 173(1) of the M. V. Act held an appeal under Section 173 of the Act would be considered when the mandatory pre-requisite i.e., the requisite amount has been deposited by the appellant and such deposit ought to be made before the appeal is ‘entertained’.

(SEC 174)

Narender Singh Kadian vs Dhanpati and Ors.

In this case, the Punjab High Court observed that when the State Government constructed a rule which provides for implementation of the award by the Court itself without recourse to retrieve the same as an arrear of land revenue, it cannot be said that the State Government acted beyond its power. The rule made by the State Government granting the power of Civil Court under Order 21, C.P.C. on the Claims Tribunal cannot be said to be invalid. It is only an addition to Section 174 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a care

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.