Madras HC upholds ban on crash guards, bull bars in vehicles

The Madras High Court on Tuesday upheld the Central government’s December 2017 notification prohibiting the use of crash guards and bull bars in vehicles, observing that drivers of such vehicles behave as “bullies” on roads.

Disposing of two public interest litigation petitions (PILs) that insisted on effective implementation of the ban, the bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu held that the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry appeared to have issued the notification in public interest.

It said that it would normally not intervene in such notifications issued in the public interest by the government unless they were absurd or objectionable.

The court also said that the drivers of the vehicles fitted with crash guards and bull boards behaved liked “bullies” on the road, especially on state and national highways.

It noted the notification has clearly said that fitment of crash guards or bull bars was in violation of Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which prevents alterations in vehicles in variation to specifications mentioned in the registration certificate.

Advocate Ajay Francis, representing one of the petitioners, argued that the fitment of the crash guards changes the basic specification of a vehicle and increases its length.

The counsel also said that scientific studies had been conducted to prove that after market fitments were not safe for motorists.

As senior counsel R. L. Sundaresan, appearing for the crash guard and bull bar manufacturers, said that the fittings only provide additional safety and sought liberty to convince the centre, the bench said that the orders passed by it would not prevent the manufacturers from making an appropriate representation to the Centre.