In a recent development that underscores its commitment to democratic principles and collaborative governance, the Modi Government has announced its intention to re-examine the controversial provisions of Section 106 (2) in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), 2023.
The Government announcement led to the suspension of the nationwide strike called by transporters and commercial drivers, who had expressed significant concerns over the stringent penalties proposed for hitand-run incidents. The BNS 2023, poised to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), represents a major overhaul of India’s legal framework concerning road safety.
Section 106 (2) of the BNS, in particular, has been a point of contention, as it seeks to impose enhanced penalties on drivers involved in fatal hit-and-run accidents.
The measure, aimed at reducing the alarming rates of road fatalities in the country, inadvertently stirred apprehensions within the transport community about the severity of the proposed penalties. The apprehension led to calls for a nationwide strike, reflecting the sector’s anxiety over the potential consequences of the new law.
Global best practices
In response, the Modi Government demonstrated a significant departure from confrontational politics by opting for a route of consultation and stakeholder engagement. The Government’s readiness to reconsider Section 106 (2) of the BNS 2023 is indicative of its openness to feedback and its commitment to making policies that are not only effective but also fair and considerate of the various stakeholders involved.
In re-examination of BNS 2023’s provisions an examination of global best practices shall be of relevance. In the European Union, for instance, traffic laws and penalties for offenses such as hit-and-run vary significantly among member states. Countries like Germany and France have stringent measures, ranging from heavy fines to imprisonment, coupled with a points-based system that can lead to license suspension upon accumulating violations.
The United States presents a varied scenario, where traffic laws are determined at the state level. States like California and New York enforce strict laws against hit-and-run offenses, with penalties including fines, imprisonment, and license revocation. Additionally, the US approach often incorporates rehabilitative measures like mandatory road safety courses alongside legal repercussions.
These global examples highlight diverse methodologies in addressing road safety challenges, blending punitive measures with educational and rehabilitative strategies. This global perspective provides valuable insights into the complexity of formulating effective road safety legislation.
The Modi Government’s approach to reviewing Section 106 (2) of the BNS 2023 signals a crucial step in its road safety initiatives. The ongoing dialogue with transport sector representatives reflects a commitment to a collaborative policymaking process.
The approach aligns with the Government’s broader commitment to democratic principles, showcasing its willingness to incorporate diverse perspectives and feedback in its policy decisions.
The consultations and their outcomes will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of road safety legislation in India. They offer the Government an opportunity to develop a balanced framework that effectively addresses road safety concerns while being mindful of the challenges faced by professional drivers.
As the review of the BNS 2023 proceeds, the transport sector and the general public await a resolution that aligns with the dual objectives of reducing road fatalities and ensuring fairness for those on the roads.
The Modi Government’s emphasis on consultation over confrontation in this scenario not only enhances the democratic fabric of the nation but also sets a positive precedent for responsive and inclusive governance.
The Government’s decision to reexamine key provisions of the BNS 2023 marks a significant moment in India’s legislative history. It reflects a governance style that prioritises dialogue and inclusivity, resonating with the Modi Government’s commitment to democratic principles and effective policymaking.
As India continues to navigate the complexities of road safety and legal reform, the Government’s approach in this matter could serve as a model for future policy development, balancing efficacy with empathy and stakeholder involvement.