Govt may re­tain re­call clause in new MV Act

AUTO CHECK Ve­hi­cles to be re­called if 100 peo­ple com­plain about a par­tic­u­lar de­fect; cos say pro­vi­sion will hit in­dus­try

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - HT BUSINESS - Su­mant Ban­erji ■ su­mant.ban­erji@hin­dus­tan­times.com

De­spite stiff op­po­si­tion from the do­mes­tic au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try, the gov­ern­ment is un­likely to drop con­tentious clauses in the manda­tory code for re­call­ing ve­hi­cles, in the bill that seeks to re­place the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act, 1988.

Slated to be tabled in Par­lia­ment in the up­com­ing win­ter ses­sion next month, the bill for the first time in­tro­duces a manda­tory code for re­call­ing cars, im­pos­ing penal­ties on com­pa­nies for man­u­fac­tur­ing and sell­ing de­fec­tive cars. Fur­ther, it also em­pow­ers con­sumers to force com­pa­nies to ini­ti­ate re­calls, a clause that has not gone down well with the do­mes­tic in­dus­try.

“There is some re­sis­tance from the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try on some as­pects of the pro­posed bill,” Nitin Gad­kari, min­is­ter for road trans­port and high­ways, said. “We are clear that In­dia needs a re­call pol­icy of its own. We will con­sider their sug­ges­tions and de­cide what is best for the con­sumers.”

Sources in the min­istry told HT there may not be ma­jor con- ces­sions for the in­dus­try when the Road Trans­port and Safety Bill 2014 is fi­nalised.

“There has been a spate of re­calls in the last few years in In­dia and abroad. We have to wake up to the fact that de­fec­tive cars may be on the road,” a se­nior min­istry of­fi­cial said. “We have seen a cor­po­rate fraud in this sec­tor in the re­cent past, so an au­thor­ity will be set up that is em­pow­ered to take some harsh steps. Also, we want to em­power end users in some way; how­ever, it may not have a di­rect bear­ing on a po­ten­tial re­call.”

The in­dus­try has voiced its con­cerns on the new pro­vi­sion that man­dates a re­call if a group of 100 peo­ple com­plain about a par­tic­u­lar de­fect in a ve­hi­cle.

“There should not be an ar­bi­trary num­ber, the gov­ern­ment should look at the na­ture of com­plaints,” said Rakesh Sri­vas­tava, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent, Hyundai Mo­tor In­dia Ltd. “If it is a se­ri­ous is­sue, even one com­plaint should prompt an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But 100 peo­ple com­plain­ing on some­thing that does not af­fect the safety of the car should not be a pre­req­ui­site for a re­call.”

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