How illegal car modification can land you in prison like this Mahindra Thar owner

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While Hollywood films the likes of Fast & Furious and the whole Japanese mod car culture have many attracted to the idea of souping up their machines, it could land you in serious trouble if you’re not careful. On the 20th of November this year, the Internet was awash with reports of a Mahindra Thar owner being sentenced to a six-month jail time in India over modifications done to the vehicle.
A court in Jammu & Kashmir ordered jail for the Thar owner who was found to have violated Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 (MV Act) under the UT of Jammu & Kashmir vs Adil Farooq Bhat case. There were several modifications made to the car that violate the rules of the MV Act, including a siren.
The vehicle in question was a previous-generation Mahindra Thar, which the court ruled was in violation since the structure of the vehicle had been completely modified/altered from its original position specified in the registration certificate (RC). These modifications included a hard top, larger wheels and tyres, LED lights, and a siren.

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However, there are conditions to the jail sentence. They have been awarded probation under the Probation of Offenders Act since the violator has not been convicted in any case before and the offence does not involve any moral turpitude. The court has ordered the execution of a bond of Rs 2 lakh with the violator for keeping up with good behaviour for two years, failing which the prison sentence would be in order.
The court has directed RTO Kashmir to remove the siren and restore the vehicle to its original condition specified in the RC.

Bottom line is that modifying your vehicle can land you in trouble, big or small. For example, refrain from aftermarket tinting for your car windows. By law, the rear windscreen has to have 75% visibility and 50% for the windows. Loud aftermarket exhausts are not just frowned upon by bystanders, they can also warrant a traffic police challan. The same goes for loud horns. Changing the colour of the vehicle is a big no-no, unless it’s RTO-approved. The only registration plates that are legal in India are the IND embossed high-security number plates (HSRP). Although the rule for HSRPs has not been made mandatory in all states across India yet, the letters and numbers on the plate need to be in a legible font and clearly visible.

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