Truck drivers, transport associations call off strike after govt assures law on hit-and-run cases only after consultation

NEW DELHI — Truck drivers and several transport associations, which launched a protest in various parts of the country, called off their agitation on Tuesday after Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla assured them that their views would be considered before the implementation of a new law regarding hit-and-run cases.

The Home Secretary met representatives of the All India Motor Transport Congress which announced a strike on Monday against jail and fine under the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) for hit-and-run cases.

“We had a discussion with All India Motor Transport Congress representatives, govt want to say that the new rule has not been implemented yet, we all want to say that before implementing Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 106/2, we will have a discussion with All India Motor Transport Congress representatives and then only we will take a decision,” Bhalla said.

Amrit Lal Madan, President of All India Motor Transport Congress, said, “You are not just our drivers you are our soldiers…We do not want you to face any inconvenience…Union Home Minister Amit Shah has kept the ten years of punishment & fine that was imposed, on hold. Until the next meeting of the All India Motor Transport Congress is held no laws will be imposed.”

Bal Malkit Singh, Chairman of the core committee of All India Motor Transport Congress, appealed to drivers to go back to their vehicles and start driving without any fears.

“We have conveyed your (the truckers) concerns to the government. The law has not been put into force yet and I assure you that we will not let this law come into force. We appeal to you to go back to your vehicles and start driving without any fears,” said Bal Malkit Singh.

In the latest move by the Centre, the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS), replaced the Indian Penal Code. Under this law, drivers can face punishment of up to 10 years or a fine of Rs 7 lakh, if they cause a serious road accident by negligent driving and run away without informing any officials. Previously, under the ambit of the IPC, the punishment in such cases was two years.

The law thereby states, “The duration of sentences in hit-and-run cases has been increased to 10 years because of the observations made by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has stated in multiple cases that strict action should be taken against those drivers who recklessly drive vehicles, cause accidents resulting in someone’s death, and then flee the scene.”