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.
"No vehicle can be altered so as to change original specification made by the manufacturer. Such particulars cannot be altered which have been specified by the manufacturer for the purpose of entry in the certificate of registration," a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran said in its verdict. This, however, does not include retrofitting of CNG kits, which are still permissible under the Act.
As per the provision of the Act, an ‘alteration’ results in a change in a vehicle’s structure and hence an anomaly in its basic feature. The Supreme Court also referred to the amendment made in a provision of the Motor Vehicles Act, saying 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 mentioned that the amended provision has clarified the extent to which a vehicle cannot be altered.
The judgement by the top court cancels out a judgement of a division bench of the Kerala High Court, which had ruled that structural alteration was permissible in accordance with the provisions of the Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
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