The Motor Vehicles department of the State, with its headquarters at Bombay, deals with the administration of the Bombay Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, as amended by Act 100 of 1956; the Bombay Motor Vehicles Rules, 1959; the Bombay Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1958; the Bombay Motor Vehicles (Taxation of Passengers) Act, 1958: and the Maharashtra Tax on Goods (Carried by Road) Act, 1962.

Under the Motor Vehicles Act all the motor vehicles have to  be registered, all drivers have to obtain a licence which is issued  only on their passing a prescribed test of competence, the hours  of work of drivers of public vehicles are regulated, and third  party insurance of all private vehicles plying in public places  has to be effected. The Act vests the State Government with  powers to subject all vehicles to strict mechanical tests and to  effectively control the number of vehicles to be licensed for public hire, to specify their routes as also the chargeable freight rates. Fees are leviable for registration and issue of licences and permits.

State Transport Authority.

The State Transport Authority for the State is vested in a committee composed of officials as well as non-officials of which the Director of Transport is the ex-officio Secretary. Regional Transport Authorities with similar committees and with the Regional Transport Officers acting as ex-officio Secretaries have been set up for convenient regions of the State. The State Trans-port Authority constituted under Section 44 of the Motor Vehicles Act. 1939, regulates and co-ordinates the activities of the Regional Transport Authorities in the matter of control of motor transport in their respective regions. Two sub-committees known as appellate committees consisting of the members of the State Transport Authority have been set up to hear and decide appeals filed by the parties aggrieved against the orders passed by the Regional Transport Authorities, one under Sections 13, 16 and 21-F and the other under Section 64 and Rule 136 of the Bombay Motor Vehicles Rules, 1959. The second committee also hears revision applications under Section 64-A.

Regional Transport Authority.

The State today has five Regional Transport Authorities with headquarters at Bombay, Poona, Thana, Nagpur and Aurangabad. Sub-regional offices have also been set up at Nasik, Kolhapur and Amravati. Regional Transport Authority for Nagpur region has jurisdiction over Chandrapur district and also over the districts of Akola, Amravati, Bhandara, Buldhana, Nagpur, Wardha and Yeotmal. It is vested in a body of six members, including the Secretary, four officials and two non-officials, being nominated by the State Government under sub-section (1) of Section 44 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Regional Transport Authority controls different transport vehicles in the region and deals with the issue of permits to them in accordance with the policy laid down by the State Transport Authority and the State Government from time to time.

Director of Transport.

The overall control of this department is vested in the Director of Transport, Bombay. He is assisted by two Deputy Directors placed incharge of administration, and taxation and inspection wings, respectively. Whereas a region is headed by a Regional Transport Officer, the sub-regions are placed under the charge of Assistant Regional Transport Officers. An inspection wing has been created in the office of the Director of Transport to enable the head of the department to exercise effective control over the working of the subordinate offices and to ensure that they function properly.

The Regional Transport Officer.

The Regional Transport Officer, besides being ex-officio Secretary of the Regional Transport Authority, acts as a licensing and registering authority for motor vehicles under Chapters II and III, respectively, of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. He is also invested with powers of prosecuting offenders under the Motor Vehicles Act. The immediate subordinate to the Regional Transport Officer, Nagpur, at the headquarters is the Regional Supervisor. He assists the Regional Transport Officer in executing his duties; looks after the office administration and acts for him in his absence. The Regional Supervisor has under him a team of Motor Vehicles Inspectors and Assistant Motor Vehicles Inspectors who are technically qualified and are declared as inspecting and testing authorities for the purpose of granting certificates of mechanical fitness to transport vehicles, for holding tests of competence and issue driving licences, conductors' licences and authorisation to drive public service vehicles.

The Motor Vehicles Inspector has also to perform the following duties among others:-

(1) to inspect vehicles involved in accidents whenever required by the police;

(2) to carry out service tours for the enforcement of the various Motor Vehicles Acts;

(3) to report infringements to the Regional Transport Officer for further action, and (4) to collect taxes. Assistant Motor Vehicles Inspectors carry out routine office work and assist the Inspectors in carrying out inspections of vehicles. They look after the work of Inspectors when the latter are on tour or on special duty.

The Regional Transport Officers and the Assistant Regional Transport Officers are also declared as taxation authorities under the Taxation Acts in their respective regions and sub-regions. In order to facilitate expeditious disposal of tax acceptances, Supervisors and Inspectors of Motor Vehicles have also been notified as taxation authorities and can assess, levy and collect taxes. Under the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1958, the Taxation Authority determines the class and rate of tax payable, after the vehicle is registered. If the vehicle is a non-transport vehicle (motor cycle or car) the tax is assessed according to the unladen weight of that vehicle. If the vehicle is a goods truck or a taxi or a passenger bus, the tax is assessed on the basis of the registered laden weight or the sitting capacity as the case may be.

Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Act.

Under the Bombay Motor Vehicle Tax Act, taxes are levied on all motor vehicles, except those designated and used solely for agricultural operations on farms and farm lands. The rules under this Act require that every vehicle be registered. Every registered owner who wants to use or keep for use any vehicle in the State has to pay the tax as determined. He has also to  state the limits within which he intends to use the vehicle, i.e.,  whether only within the limits of a particular municipality or  cantonment or throughout the State. A token for the payment of the tax is issued by the taxation authority and this has to be  attached to and carried on the vehicle at all times when the vehicle is in use. A fresh declaration is to be made every time the tax is to be paid. Before issuing the token in respect of the payment of the tax, the taxation authority has to satisfy itself that every declaration is complete in all respects and the proper amount of tax has been paid. Every owner of a motor vehicle has to give an advance intimation of his intention of keeping his vehicle in non-use during any period for which he desires to be exempted from the payment of tax, and declare the place of garage while in non-use.

The Bombay Motor Vehicles (Taxation of Passengers) Act, 1958. envisages levy and payment to the State Government of a tax on all passengers carried by stage carriages (including stage carriages used as contract carriages) at 10 per cent inclusive of the amount of the fares payable to the operators of the stage carriages except where such stage carriages ply exclusively within a municipal area or exclusively on such routes serving municipal and adjacent areas as may be approved by the State Government. Similarly the public as also the private carriers have to pay taxes leviable under Maharashtra Tax on Goods (Carried by Road) Act, 1962, on the basis of freight charges collected by them.

With a view to ensure prompt and effective recovery of Government dues separate taxation wings for the administration of Bombay Motor Vehicles Act, 1958, have been set up in all the offices of this department. These are placed under the charge of Assistant Regional Transport Officers in major regions and Regional Supervisors in sub-regions. There is an enforcement and prosecution section in the office of the Regional Transport Officer to launch prosecutions against the offenders for breach of provisions of the various enactments.

Liaison with Police Department.

This department has liaison with the Police department which helps in checking motor vehicles periodically and in detecting offences under the Motor Vehicles Act. It also attends to references from the Motor Vehicles department regarding the verification of the character of the applicants for public service vehicle authorisations, conductors' licences, taxi-cab permits, etc. It also helps in the verification of vehicles off the road, recovery of arrears of taxes and in specifying particular places for bus stops, etc. The District Magistrate renders all possible help to this department in connection with the imposition of restrictions on road transport, fixation of speed limits and location of motor-stands at various places, etc.