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MIRA to enact community service in place of parking, traffic fines

Shahudha Mohamed
18 August 2020, MVT 22:24
Traffic Police placing stickers on motor vehicles parked outside a parking zone. Under the amendment to the Land Transport Act, authorities can impose community service on individuals who are unable to pay their parking and traffic fines. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
18 August 2020, MVT 22:24

The Parliament, on Tuesday, passed an amendment to the Land Transport Act, granting powers to the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) to request a court order for community service if an individual is unable to pay their fines for parking and traffic violations.

Approved unanimously, the vote was taken amongst 62 members present in the Parliament session.

The amendment to the Land Transport Act, allowing MIRA to file court cases against those who fail to pay parking and traffic violation fines, was submitted by ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s parliament representative for Kulhudhuffushi North constituency Yasir Abdul Latheef.

However, once the relevant Parliament Committee reviewed the submission and tweaked the amendment, an option was added to create room for MIRA to request a court order for community service in certain cases.

Community service will only be imposed on individuals who have unpaid fines that add up to MVR 10,000 or above.

According to the amendment, the policies on implementing this rule must be listed as a set of regulations under the Land Transport Act.

Additionally, the amendment requires the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation to establish a system for receiving complaints about fines, within 90 days since the law takes effect. It also grants the ministry powers to annul fines.

Individuals who drive over the speed limit or without a valid licence will receive heftier fines under the amendment.

A fine of MVR 500 will be imposed on a driver breaking the speed limit for the first time, but if the same violation is repeated again, the fine will be increased to MVR 750 and the license belonging to the driver in question will be withheld for a period of 48 hours.

If the offence is repeated on a third occasion, authorities are allowed to fine the driver up to MVR 1,000 and confiscate their vehicle for a period of 15 days.

The amendment also increases the punishment for endangering a life due to reckless driving, a move that was greatly lobbied for by the family and friends of Umar 'Otho' Saleem, a victim of a vehicular accident. Following the passage of this amendment, in such cases, authorities can press criminal charges against the perpetrator under the Penal Code and withhold their licence for a period of 10 to 25 years.

Moreover, City Councils are given the power to determine the number of vehicles, and the duration in which they can operate on a certain island or atoll. However, for industrial zones, these numbers will be determined by the transport ministry.

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