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29 April, 2021

6 Min Read

Right to Freedom of Movement- FASTag

Right to Freedom of Movement- FASTag

GS-Paper-2: Governance– UPSC PRELIMS – Mains Application

Context: The Union government told the Bombay High Court that making FASTag mandatory for all vehicles plying on the national highways (NHs) doesn’t breach a citizen’s fundamental right to freedom of movement in any way.

FASTag ensures seamless traffic movement, cut travel time short, and that all decisions had been taken in accordance with the Central Motor Vehicles (CMV) Rules.

Section 136A of Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019 puts the responsibility on the Central Government to make rules for the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety.

  • Legislating the establishment of robust electronic enforcement for traffic violations will result in reduction in human intervention and the associated corruption.
  • A robust electronic enforcement system including speed cameras, closed-circuit televisions cameras, speed guns and such other technology will ensure violations being captured at a greater scale.
  • Provisions had been made at all toll plazas along national highways to fit the chip in vehicles that did not have FASTag.
  • In cases where it was not possible to fit vehicles with FASTag on the spot for any reason, the vehicle was permitted to still ply on highways, on extreme left of the FASTag lanes. However, such vehicles were required to pay twice the toll amount.
  • The double user fees or penalties imposed on vehicles without FASTag on national highways were also in accordance with the National Highway Fee (determination of rates and collection) Rules, 2008.
  • Entertaining such petitions would cause "irreparable loss" to the National Highways Authority of India.

FASTag

  • FASTag is an electronic toll collection system that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. RFID is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object.
  • A tag can be read from up to several feet away and does not need to be within the direct line-of-sight of the reader to be tracked.
  • It is a tag fixed on the windscreen of the vehicle that allows automatic deduction of toll without stopping for carrying out the cash transaction.

The Union government told the Bombay High Court that making FASTag mandatory for all vehicles plying on the national highways (NHs) doesn’t breach a citizen’s fundamental right to freedom of movement in any way.

  • According to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, FASTag (electronic toll collection system) is mandatory for all vehicles at toll plazas on NHs.
  • [Section 136A of Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019 says that the Central Government should make rules for the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety.]
  • The Centre said that provisions had been made at all toll plazas along national highways to fit the chip in vehicles that did not have FASTag.
  • It also said that the double user fees or penalties imposed on vehicles without FASTag on NHs were in accordance with National Highway Fee (determination of rates and collection) Rules, 2008.

Right to Freedom of Movement

  • Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees Right to Freedom of movement.
  • It gives every citizen the right to move freely throughout the country. It is protected against only state action and not private individuals.
  • It is available only to the citizens and to shareholders of a company but not to foreigners or legal persons.
  • Restrictions - Only be imposed on two grounds as per the Article 19 of the constitution, namely,
    1. Interests of the general public and
    2. Protection of interests of any scheduled tribe.
  • While Article 19 protects only the right to move inside the country, Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) protects right to move out of the country and right to come back to the country.

Source: TH

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