The Supreme Court of India, through a two judge bench, has just overturned a Kerala High Court judgment, which had ruled that ‘structural alteration’ of a vehicle was permissible. The Supreme Court has now ruled that any modification of the vehicle that varies with the manufacturer’s original specification (as noted in the Registration Certificate) is illegal.
Referring to an amended provision of the Motor Vehicles Act, the Supreme Court stated that the intent of the Act was that no vehicle’s particulars, as mentioned in its certificate of registration, should differ from those 'originally specified by the manufacturer'.
That basically means that while painting the vehicle to the colour of one's choice and minor fitments will be allowed, no structural changes to the car's chassis will be permitted here on. Even while changing the engine of a vehicle with the same capacity and make, the vehicle owners will have to take permission from the registration authorities, failing which they can risk getting their registration cancelled.
Referring to the amendment made in a provision of the Motor Vehicles Act, the apex court said it was 'amended with the purpose to prohibit alteration of vehicles in any manner including change of tyres of higher capacity, keeping in view road safety and protection of the environment'. It said that amended provision has specified the extent to which vehicle cannot be altered.