Delhi High Court Confirms Applicability of MV Act and CMV Rules to Electric Vehicles

14 September, 2023 | Muskan Menghani

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The demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is gradually increasing in India due to their environmental benefits and potential cost savings.

The Delhi High Court has rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought to mandate the use of electric scooters/bikes for two-wheelers. The plea also aimed to establish guidelines for standardized manufacturing of reliable and safe batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).

In their judgment, Justices Satish Chander Sharma and Sanjeev Narula stated that the existing provisions of the Motor Vehicle (MV) Act and Central Motor Vehicle (CMV) Rules, 1989, already apply to EVs. These provisions include requirements for mandatory insurance coverage, the use of protective headgear on two-wheelers, and penalties for non-compliance. Therefore, the court found no need to issue additional orders or directions in this regard.

The court also noted that the Union of India has already set standards for battery manufacturers to ensure safe usage in battery-operated vehicles/EVs. Consequently, no further orders or directions were deemed necessary by the court.

Furthermore, the court emphasized that the Government of NCT Delhi should continue to ensure the timely disbursal of subsidies offered for electric vehicles registered in Delhi.

Advocate Gurdas Khurana, representing the Union of India, opposed the plea, arguing that EVs are already classified as motor vehicles under the MV Act and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. He pointed out that the MV Act mandates compulsory insurance coverage (Section 146) and the use of protective headgear (Section 129) for motor vehicles. Additionally, Sections 194D and 196 of the MV Act outline penalties for non-compliance with these provisions.

The petitioner, Rajat Kapoor, had raised concerns about the lack of rules regarding insurance for EVs, which could potentially lead to unregulated vehicles on the road. Kapoor specifically highlighted the importance of third-party insurance for EVs and suggested that vehicles should not be allowed to leave showrooms until insurance formalities are completed.

The plea also stressed the need for insurance coverage for EVs, particularly two-wheelers with a maximum speed of up to 25 kmph and power of up to 250 watts. Although these vehicles do not require a driver’s license to operate, the plea argued for insurance coverage to address minimum third-party risks.

The demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is gradually increasing in India due to their environmental benefits and potential cost savings. As the EV market continues to grow, the plea called for insurance companies to step up and provide suitable coverage options for electric vehicles.

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