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This article is written by Shivam Mishra of  Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


The Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, are the bedrock of India’s traffic regulations. They cover a wide range of topics, from licensing and permits to traffic regulations and vehicle safety. Understanding these rules is essential for anyone who operates a motor vehicle in India.

This paper provides a clear and concise overview of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. It is intended to be a valuable resource for motorists and stakeholders alike.

The paper is divided into eight chapters, each of which covers a different aspect of the rules. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the rules, while Chapter 2 covers the process of obtaining a driving license. Chapter 3 explains how to register a motor vehicle and obtain the necessary permits. Chapter 4 outlines the construction, equipment, and maintenance standards for motor vehicles. Chapter 5 covers traffic regulations, such as speed limits, overtaking rules, and right-of-way. Chapter 6 discusses driver fitness and responsibilities, as well as the penalties for violating traffic laws. Chapter 7 addresses liabilities, insurance, and compensation for accident victims. Chapter 8 covers the administrative and economic aspects of the transportation ecosystem, such as vehicle registration, permits for goods carriage, and control of overloading.

This paper is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. It is clear, concise, and easy to understand.


Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, India, Driver licensing, Traffic regulations, Vehicle safety, Driver responsibility, Registration and taxation, Insurance and compensation, Commercial vehicles, Public transport, Emergency vehicles, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance vs. Union of India 2021, Ashish Gosain vs. Department Of Transport & Anr on 2 May, 2016[1]


Navigating the vast network of Indian roads requires careful adherence to a comprehensive set of regulations. The Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, serve as the bedrock of this regulatory landscape, establishing the legal framework for safe and responsible driving practices. This analysis delves into the core provisions of this crucial legislation, illuminating the path for motorists and stakeholders alike.

The Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, cover a wide range of topics, from licensing and permits to traffic regulations and vehicle safety. They also address issues such as driver responsibility, registration and taxation, insurance and compensation, and the rules governing specific categories of vehicles such as commercial vehicles, public transport, and emergency vehicles.

Understanding these rules is essential for anyone who operates a motor vehicle in India. By following the rules, motorists can help to keep themselves and others safe on the roads. This analysis provides a clear and concise overview of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. It is intended to be a valuable resource for motorists and stakeholders alike.

Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 contains seven chapters where each chapter signify different things-

ChapterBrief Summary
IPreliminary: Introduces the rules, definitions, and commencement dates.
IILicensing of Drivers of Motor Vehicles: Details the process for obtaining driving licenses, eligibility criteria, test procedures, and validity periods.
IIIPermits and Registration of Motor Vehicles: Explains vehicle registration procedures, fees, taxes, and permit requirements for different vehicle categories.
IVConstruction, Equipment and Maintenance of Motor Vehicles: Sets standards for vehicle construction, equipment requirements, and maintenance procedures.
VControl of Traffic: Outlines traffic regulations, including speed limits, overtaking rules, right-of-way, parking, stopping, and pedestrian safety.
VIFitness and Driving of Motor Vehicles: Emphasizes driver responsibilities, including adherence to traffic signals, avoiding distractions, and driving under the influence. Also defines penalties for violations.
VIILiabilities and Penalties: Describes legal liabilities arising from accidents and traffic violations, along with associated penalties and compensation processes.
VIIIMiscellaneous Provisions: Covers specific rules for commercial vehicles, public transport, ambulances, and school buses.


Chapter 1 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, lays the foundation for the entire legislation by establishing its framework and context. Here’s a breakdown of its key provisions and an analysis of their significance:

1. Short Title and Commencement:

Firstly, it establishes the scope and authority of the rules. It formally christens them as the “Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989,” solidifying their national reach and applicability. Further, it clarifies the date of commencement, highlighting their immediate and critical role in shaping the landscape of motor vehicle operations within the country.

2. Definitions:

Secondly, it tackles the potential for ambiguity by providing precise definitions for vital terms. This glossary encompasses crucial terms like “Act” (referring to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988), “motor vehicle,” “registering authority,” and diverse vehicle categories. Understanding these definitions is paramount for accurate interpretation of subsequent chapters and application of the rules in specific situations.

3. Savings and Severability:

Finally, it demonstrates respect for existing frameworks and adaptability to unforeseen circumstances. By incorporating a “savings clause,” the chapter ensures that regulations not explicitly repealed by these rules remain in effect. Additionally, a “severability clause” protects the overall framework by stating that even if a single provision is deemed invalid, the remaining rules retain their full force and effectiveness.


To ensure safe and responsible driving practices on Indian roads, Chapter 2 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, meticulously outlines the process for obtaining driving licenses. It covers key aspects such as:

1. Eligibility and Disqualifications: Age restrictions safeguard against inexperienced drivers operating potentially dangerous vehicles. For instance, individuals under 18 cannot obtain a car license. Additionally, past offenses or medical conditions can lead to disqualification, removing unsafe drivers from the roads.

2. Classes of Driving Licenses: Recognizing the unique skills and knowledge required for different vehicle types, the chapter defines distinct license categories. A motorcycle license, for example, doesn’t automatically qualify someone to drive a car. Similarly, operating heavy goods vehicles like trucks or buses demands a specific HGV license.

3. Procedure for Obtaining a License: A multi-step process evaluates both practical and theoretical competence before granting a license. Individuals practice under a learner’s license with supervision before taking the full driving test. This ensures they gain experience in a controlled environment. Furthermore, tests assess not only driving skills but also knowledge of traffic rules and road safety protocols.

4. Validity and Renewal: To maintain driving competency and awareness of updated regulations, licenses have specific validity periods and require regular renewals. Car licenses, for example, need to be renewed every five years. Renewals often involve eye tests and medical assessments to ensure continued fitness to drive.

5. International Driving Permits: To facilitate driving in foreign countries that recognize the permit, Indian citizens with valid licenses can obtain international driving permits, enabling them to legally operate vehicles abroad.


Navigating the intricacies of vehicle registration and permitting can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned motorist. Fortunately, Chapter 3 of [relevant document] emerges as a beacon of clarity, meticulously outlining the procedures necessary to ensure your vehicle’s legal and safe operation on public thoroughfares.

1. Streamlined Registration:

Imagine acquiring your cherished two-wheeled steed, a Vespa perhaps, only to be ensnared in a labyrinth of bureaucratic hurdles. Fear not, for Chapter 3 serves as your trusty cartographer, meticulously guiding you through the registration process. From the initial submission of requisite documents, such as the purchase invoice and insurance certificate, to the payment of designated fees and completion of mandatory formalities like vehicle inspections, this chapter illuminates the path towards obtaining your official registration certificate and license plates.

2. Categorization and Fee Structure:

Just as a tailor meticulously chooses the appropriate fabric for each garment, Chapter 3 recognizes the inherent differences between diverse vehicle types. Be it a nimble motorcycle, a spacious sedan, or a robust commercial truck, each category is assigned a specific registration fee. This fee structure reflects the administrative complexities associated with each vehicle type, ensuring equitable distribution of costs while maintaining efficiency.

3. Flexibility for Varied Scenarios:

Life, like the open road, throws unexpected curves. Chapter 3 caters to such eventualities by outlining procedures for temporary and duplicate registrations. Imagine lending your motorcycle to a trusted friend for a weekend jaunt – the chapter empowers you to acquire a temporary registration, ensuring legal compliance and accountability throughout the borrowing period. Similarly, should your registration certificate fall victim to serendipitous misplacement, the chapter guides you through the process of obtaining a duplicate, safeguarding your vehicle’s legal standing without delay.

4. Ownership Transfer: A Seamless Transition:

The time may come when you decide to part ways with your trusty companion. Chapter 3 facilitates this transition with grace and clarity, delineating the steps involved in transferring vehicle ownership. From informing the relevant authorities to completing requisite formalities and updating registration documents, this section ensures a smooth and legally sound handover, protecting both you and the new owner from future complications.

5. Special Vehicles: Navigating Additional Regulations:

Certain vehicles, such as trailers, commercial trucks, and those transporting hazardous materials, carry a significant responsibility on their axles. Recognizing this, Chapter 3 delves into the realm of additional permits required for such vehicles. These permits, often encompassing specific insurance stipulations, safety inspections, and driver qualifications, prioritize public safety by ensuring these vehicles adhere to stringent regulations during operation.


Chapter 4 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, champions vehicular safety and operability. Its key tenets, akin to pillars of a sturdy bridge, ensure your automotive journey is both safe and responsible.

1. Construction Standards: Sturdy bones (chassis) and keen eyes (lights) – Chapter 4 mandates minimum safety standards for brakes, steering, and lights, safeguarding you from wobbly wheels and sudden darkness.

2. Essential Gear: Tools for effective navigation – Horns for communication, windshields for vision, rearview mirrors for awareness, and reflectors for visibility – Chapter 4 equips you with these crucial tools for a confident journey.

3. Safeguarding through Regulation: No DIY danger – Chapter 4 restricts unauthorized modifications that compromise safety, ensuring hot-rodded horses don’t throw you off their backs.

4. Preventive Care: Nurturing your companion – Chapter 4 emphasizes regular maintenance like oil checks and tire pressure checks, preventing nasty breakdowns and roadside dramas.

5. Overhauling with Precision: Restoring vigor – Chapter 4 establishes guidelines for engine and transmission repairs, ensuring your vehicle’s heart beats strong and carries you far and wide.

Remember, Chapter 4 fosters a safe and responsible driving environment for all. Let your trusted steed carry you far, following these crucial regulations like a map to a harmonious journey.


Chapter 5 orchestrates India’s traffic flow, ensuring safety, efficiency, and courtesy. Think of it as your formal guidebook to navigating the roads with confidence.

1. Speed Regulations: Different roads, different tempos. Chapter 5 sets speeds based on safety, not thrills. Slowing down in school zones protects pedestrians, like Timmy waving hello.

2. Overtaking with Grace: Don’t be a reckless bull! Chapter 5 teaches safe overtaking. Check visibility, avoid blind spots, and signal like a pro. Imagine that scenic drive – wouldn’t a risky overtake turn it into a crash scene?

3. Right of Way Etiquette: Chapter 5 is your traffic guru at intersections, roundabouts, and crossings. Yield signs, lights, and even unmarked junctions have clear rules. Ignore them? Imagine the honking chaos!

4. Park with Propriety: Blocking traffic or an ambulance isn’t cool. Chapter 5 guides you on parking and stopping, keeping the flow smooth and emergency vehicles ready.

5. Pedestrians Matter: Give them the right of way. Chapter 5 reminds you – lives are more important than saving a few seconds. Seeing a child’s smile is a reward worth slowing down for.

6. See the Signs: Traffic signals and signs are your roadmap. Stop signs, speed limits, no-entry zones – Chapter 5 decodes them all. Imagine being lost and frustrated, facing a fine on top of it – not ideal!

Following Chapter 5’s rules ensures a safe, efficient, and courteous journey. So buckle up, and let the traffic symphony flow!


Chapter 6 shifts gears, focusing on YOU, the driver! It emphasizes fitness (sharp eyes, clear mind), responsible behavior (traffic signals, phone down), and understanding the consequences of breaking the rules.

Fit to Drive:

Good vision, no alcohol, age and health checks – Chapter 6 says drive safe, not sleepy. Remember that late-night movie? Imagine dozing off at the wheel! Take a nap, not a risk.

Responsible Roads:

Follow signals, ditch distractions, keep safe distances – Chapter 6 reminds you to be predictable and alert. Texting in traffic? A split-second glance could mean disaster.

Breaking the Rules, Facing the Music:

Speeding tickets, license suspensions – Chapter 6 discourages bad behavior with penalties. Feeling invincible after zooming past a sign? This could be your reality check. Racing friends won’t be fun with a hefty fine!

License: Use it wisely:

Renewals, points for violations, losing your driving privilege – Chapter 6 explains it all. Traffic tickets like souvenirs? Collect too many, and your license goes on vacation! Be responsible, keep those points in check.

Knowledge is Power:

Driver education and awareness programs – Chapter 6 champions learning. Tricky situations on the road? Defensive driving courses are your secret weapon. Imagine navigating that roundabout like a pro after learning the tricks!

Chapter 6: Be fit, responsible, and knowledgeable. Buckle up, stay alert, and keep the roads safe!


Chapter 7 delves deeper than driving, tackling ownership accountability, accident protection, compensation, and regulations. It’s a multi-faceted approach to safe and responsible use of vehicles.

1. Owner’s Responsibility:

Focus: Keeping vehicle owners accountable for their vehicles’ actions, even when driven by others.

Example: You lend your car to a friend who causes an accident. Even though you weren’t there, you might face legal repercussions. Chapter 7 reminds you to choose responsible drivers and prioritize proper vehicle maintenance.

2. Insurance Protection:

Focus: Ensuring financial support for accident victims, regardless of who’s at fault.

Example: A careless driver crashes into your scooter. Your third-party insurance, mandated by Chapter 7, covers your medical expenses, offering peace of mind.

3. Fair Compensation:

Focus: Providing victims with just compensation for accident-related losses, including injuries and lost income.

Example: A hit-and-run accident leaves someone permanently disabled. Chapter 7 ensures the court awards fair compensation based on their pain and suffering, aiding their recovery and livelihood.

4. Diverse Regulations:

Focus: Covering various administrative and regulatory aspects like transport authorities, driving schools, and unclaimed vehicles.

Example: You’re learning to drive at an unlicensed school. Chapter 7 empowers authorities to investigate and potentially revoke its license, ensuring quality driver education for everyone.

Chapter 7 goes beyond the act of driving, creating a framework for responsible ownership, financial security, fair compensation, and orderly traffic management. This comprehensive approach fosters a safer and more responsible environment for all road users.


Chapter 8 steers you through the administrative and economic aspects of the transportation world. It’s a well-paved road of procedures, safety measures, and commercial rules – all geared towards keeping vehicles registered, licensed, and operating responsibly. Let’s explore its key provisions and understand their importance:

1. Vehicle Registration: Your car has a unique identity card! This section guides you through registering your vehicle, issuing license plates, and ensuring ownership transfers. Think of it as a way to identify vehicles on the road, investigate accidents, and even combat theft. Picture buying a used car – Chapter 8 helps update the registration details, making you the official owner!

2. Commercial Vehicle Permits and Licenses: Trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles need a special passport to hit the road. This section mandates specific permits and licenses based on size, capacity, and route. Imagine an interstate truck journey – Chapter 8 ensures the vehicle is safe, the driver qualified, and the chosen route is permitted.

3. Overloading Control: No weightlifting for vehicles! This section sets strict limits on how much cargo they can carry and penalizes those who go overboard. Think of it as protecting roads from damage, minimizing accidents, and ensuring fair competition by preventing overloading as a shortcut. Picture a truck driver tempted to carry extra cargo – Chapter 8 steps in to say “no overloading” for smoother roads, fairer competition, and safer journeys.

4. Tariffs and Fares: Fair pricing for everyone! This section establishes minimum and maximum rates for transporting goods, protecting consumers from exploitation and ensuring healthy competition among operators. Imagine farmers worried about overpriced transport – Chapter 8 helps determine fair tariffs, giving them a better deal and keeping the industry competitive.

5. Diverse Regulations: From temporary registrations to pollution control, this section covers a wide range of administrative and regulatory aspects. Think of it as ensuring efficient use of temporary vehicles, maintaining safety standards in public transport, and promoting environmental responsibility. Picture a tourist group needing a bus for a city tour – Chapter 8 facilitates temporary registration, allowing smooth tourism operations while following proper regulations.

Chapter 8 isn’t just about paperwork – it’s about building a responsible and efficient transportation system for everyone. So buckle up, follow the rules, and enjoy a smooth journey on the road of regulations!

Ashish Gosain vs. Department Of Transport & Anr on 2 May, 2016[10]


  • Petitioner Ashish Gosain received a show cause notice on January 18, 2016, asking why his driving license shouldn’t be disqualified under Section 19(1)(f) of the Motor Vehicles Act.
  • The notice cited exceeding the speed limit and a request from the Traffic Police to suspend his license based on directions from the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety.
  • Gosain was not given a hearing before the notice was issued.


  • Can the Department of Transport disqualify a driving license without a hearing, based on exceeding the speed limit and Supreme Court Committee directions, even if the offense was compounded?


  • The court ruled that compounding an offense under Section 200 does not bar the Department of Transport from suspending the license under Section 19.
  • However, the court emphasized that Section 19(1) requires the licensing authority to be satisfied about the violation before taking action.
  • Since Gosain wasn’t given a hearing, the court quashed the show cause notice and directed the Department of Transport to provide him a proper hearing before taking any further action.


The judgment upheld the Supreme Court Committee’s directions on mandatory license suspension for specific traffic violations but emphasized the importance of due process and the right to a hearing. Also this case clarifies the legal distinction between compounding an offense and suspending a license and emphasizes the need for fair procedures when taking action against drivers.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance … vs Ramesh Chand Sharma & Ors. on 24 May, 2016[11]


  • The insurance company denied liability under the policy due to the driver not having a valid license for the offending vehicle (petrol tanker carrying hazardous substances).
  • The driver’s license relied upon lacked the endorsement required for hazardous vehicles by Section 14(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act and Rules 9 and 132 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
  • No evidence of the required endorsement was presented by the driver or owner.


  • Whether the insurance company is liable to indemnify when the driver lacked the necessary license for the hazardous vehicle involved in the accident.


  • The tribunal rejected the insurance company’s plea, acknowledging the absence of the required endorsement but failing to consider its implications.
  • The court highlights the relevant rules stating that:
  • Rule 9 mandates an endorsement on the driver’s license for hazardous vehicles.
  • Rule 132 makes the owner responsible for ensuring the driver’s compliance with Rule 9.
  • Based on the accident report and lack of evidence, the court concludes that:
  • The offending vehicle falls under the category requiring a hazardous vehicle license endorsement.
  • The driver’s license lacked the necessary endorsement for hazardous vehicles.
  • Therefore, the court reverses the tribunal’s decision and finds the insurance company not liable to indemnify due to the breach of policy terms and conditions.


As we’ve explored the intricate landscape of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 (CMVR), it’s evident that these regulations play a crucial role in promoting safety and order on our roads. From licensing and registration to driving conduct and vehicle standards, the CMVR provides a comprehensive framework for responsible motorized traffic.

While meticulously navigating each chapter and rule might seem daunting, remember, the underlying purpose is clear: to create a safer and more efficient transportation system for all. The examples woven throughout this article hopefully demystify the technical jargon and illustrate how the CMVR impacts everyday driving scenarios.

However, the CMVR is not a static document. Continuous amendments reflect the evolving needs of our traffic ecosystem. Staying informed about these updates and adhering to them is not just a legal obligation, but also a personal responsibility towards fellow road users.

Let us utilize the knowledge gained from this exploration to become more informed and responsible drivers. Remember, the CMVR is not simply a set of restrictions, but a roadmap for shared safety and courtesy on the road. By adhering to its guidelines and upholding its spirit, we can collectively create a more harmonious and accident-free driving experience for everyone.


[1] AIR 2016 DELHI 162, (2015) 223 DLT 525, (2016) 2 ACC 760, (2016) 230 DLT 177

[2] https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/CMVR-chapter1_1.pdf

[3] https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/CMVR-chapter2_1.pdf

[4] https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/CMVR-chapter3_1.pdf

[5] https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/CMVR-chapter4_1.pdf

[6] https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/CMVR-chapter5_1.pdf

[7] https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/CMVR-chapter6_1.pdf

[8] https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/CMVR-chapter7_1.pdf

[9] https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/Appendices%20_1.pdf

[10] AIR 2016 DELHI 162, (2015) 223 DLT 525, (2016) 2 ACC 760, (2016) 230 DLT 177

[11] Bajaj Allianz General Insurance vs. Union of India 2021

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