Thiruvananthapuram: It is not an easy task when it comes to altering the looks and shape of your vehicle. As per the Motor Vehicles Act, you are not supposed to make any structural alterations on the body of a vehicle designed by a company after taking into account various security aspects. In a recent verdict, the Supreme Court of India had also made vehicle modification illegal.
What ought not to be done
Vehicles are conditioned in such a way that the engine compartment is made soft and the passenger compartment, strong. Any change in this condition due to alteration of a vehicle may affect its delicate balancing, leading to accidents.
Moreover, you don't have the right to change the headlights. No new additional lights can also be fitted. The colour of the front light should be white and the back light be red and amber. Crash guard cannot be fitted in such a way that it masks the airbags. Airbags may not open at the time of accidents because of such additional fittings.
No pictures, including that of your favourite film stars, should be pasted on a vehicle. Use of cooling papers and curtains are banned. Using cent percent transparent cooling paper is also illegal.
What went wrong with 'e bull jet' duo
Certain alterations are permissible in chain-driven vehicles like a caravan. (Chain drive is a way of transmitting mechanical power.) But such changes have to be made by an authorized agency approved by the Road Transport Office (RTO). The RTO should later approve these changes.
'E Bull Jet' brothers, Ebin and Libin, had altered the structural parts of their popular vehicle christened 'Napoleon', at an authorized agency. But, the exterior work of the vehicle was done in a local workshop, and this had violated the norms, thus inviting action from the authorities.
A case arising out of the row over the colour of a contract carriage vehicle is pending before the High Court. As per law, the long-distance buses should have blue colour, limited-stop buses pink and city buses green.
The decision to find out the location of the vehicle through the GPS system has not been implemented yet.
Can police break the law?
IAS and IPS officers are often seen using flag poles in their vehicles. In fact this practice too is forbidden. Only a very few authorities are privileged are allowed to do this, including the President, the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. Top military bosses are also authorized to use flag poles. Assuming that they have the same power, IAS and IPS officers use flag poles!
The rules are same for the police. Structural alterations are not allowed on police vehicles. But they can change the colour of the jeep. Police can use pink colour in their vehicles to carry out any public campaign or to create awareness among people.
Private parties are, however, barred from using the logo and colour of police vehicles.
Ambulances don't have much exceptions
Contrary to popular perception, ambulance services do not have much exceptions in the law. Just like any other vehicle, it has a speed limit. The only difference is that other vehicles should give space for an ambulance when it is running on an emergency service. Penalty can also be charged from a vehicle obstructing an ambulance.
Kinds of alterations possible
However, not all kinds of alterations to your car is against the law. You can make some changes to your ride, without being caught. You can change the colour or seat of a vehicle. But you have to give an application before the RTO office first. If a certificate is given after alteration, it should be entered in the RC book. You are within your rights to upgrade your tyres as long as the new set of tyres comply with the stipulations of the manufacturer. You are allowed to repaint your car in the colour of your choice with the approval of the RTO.
How to apply for alterations
If you want to make alterations, first upload your application on the alteration section of 'Vahan-Sarathi' portal. Once you get an online approval from the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD), changes can be made. But after making changes, it has to be ratified by the RTO. For that you have to pay small amount as fee. The approval of the RTO has to be entered into the RC book to make the alteration legal.
If it is found that alterations are made without doing this procedure, the MVD will give a notice first. In case of further violations, the registration will be either suspended or cancelled. This is exactly what had happened in the case of the duo behind the popular YouTube channel 'E Bull Jet' that features their van life on 'Napoleon'.