GUWAHATI, June 27 � In response to two PILs raising concerns regarding safety standards of four-wheeler vehicles, the Gauhati High Court has directed the Central government not to permit the auto manufacturers to release and sell small four-wheelers (with a mass up to 1500 kilograms) and quadricycles without putting them to crash test and emission test.
The term �four-wheeler vehicle� in Rule 2 (L) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 is categorized as M1 to mean �a motor vehicle used for carriage of passengers comprising not more than eight seats in addition to the driver�s seat�.
The petitioners contended the small passenger cars produced by the manufactures do not conform to the safety standards � they are not put to scrutiny of crash-testing (otherwise called frontal impact test).
Video demonstration was done in the open court to show that the small cars manufactured in India have failed the crash test conducted by the European New Car Assessment
Programme (ENCAP), the report of which was also shown to the court. The test conducted discloses that frontal collision in a simulated state driven at a speed of 60 km/per hour has proved dangerous to the life and limb of the driver and inmates, notwithstanding theseat belt. The requirement of air bags and a sturdy frontal body is said to be a primary condition for safety of the driver and other inmates in the vehicle. However, in the test conducted by ENCAP in November, 2014 all small cars � the four-wheelers in particular � of the M1 and N1 (motor vehicles used for carriage of goods and having gross weight not less than 3.5 tonnes) categories sold in India have not passed the crash test and also do not conform to the standard of emission test.
It was also contended by the petitioners that all small four-wheeler passenger vehicles on the road have not passed the frontal impact test as required under the law and they have been freely sold without conforming to the requisite standard of safety.
The norms relating to the emission test for two-wheelers and three-wheelers are made applicable to quadricycles. However, a quadricycle being a vehicle coming under the M1 category, the emission test norms applicable to the M1 category should have been made applicable, since a quadricycle is also a motor vehicle coming within the definition of the M1 category.
The case has been fixed for further hearing on July 29.