Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued an order to all the state governments banning the crash guards that are installed on vehicles without permission. The ministry has stated that such fitments and modifications compromise the safety of the pedestrians as well as the occupants of the vehicle, hence prohibiting it with immediate effect. Failure to comply by the new guideline will invite strict action and penalty from the authorities.

The order was issued on December 7 to principal secretaries (transport), secretaries (transport) and transport commissioners of all states and union territory administrations. It was issued by Priyank Bharti, MVL under transport ministry, stating, “The fitment of crash guards/bull bar is in contravention of Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and attracts penalty under Section 190 and Section 191 of the Motor Vehicles  Act, 1988. States have to take strict action against those vehicle owners who resort to unauthorised fitment of crash guard/bull bar on the motor vehicles.”

However, the order was slammed by merchants, who deal with the manufacturing and sale of bull bars and crash guards. They have strongly opposed the government’s move and are also planning to move court before the order is fully enforced. A Supreme Court lawyer responded to the order, after Delhi-based Automotive Parts Merchants Association approached him for legal opinion, saying, “One should note that the letter has the word ‘may’ written which means the rule is not mandatory for States. If they wish to, they can implement and lay penalties. Also, this letter has no legal backing and is liable to get quashed. In case the government wants to strictly enforce it, the only option is to make an amendment to the existing Act.”

The Central government has taken a strict stance towards the loud and disorderly modifications that vehicle owners opt for. The government has banned hooters, sirens, horns, tinted windows, etc in the past and has strictly ordered the usage of company-fitted parts only.