One of the questions that haunt most bikers in India who want to buy an aftermarket accessory is if it is legal to buy and use.While we would like to explain in detail to you our argument on this topic, but in a nutshell the answer to this question is
“YES & NO”.
Confusing?? ha ha ha!! yes.. that’s how the law is structured and hence there would always be debate on whether it is legal or not. Before sharing our view about the question of aftermarket accessories being legal or illegal, we would like to make it clear to the reader that these are our personal views and need not necessarily be the voice of the majority of the biking community. We believe in having and exercising the right to express what we want and do not intend to hurt others feelings or demean anyone.
When we say the law is structured in a lousy fashion and unclear to a great extent when it comes to aftermarket accessories, what we mean is neither people who wrote down were clear nor the ones who implement it know how to.What gets on our nerves is when the government officials comfortably use the term “ILLEGAL” to refer to aftermarket accessories.
We fail to understand or agree that the government has assigned a HSN code under the GST and also allocated 28% (highest bracket) of GST to the two wheeler aftermarket accessories. This allows the state and the central government to take away from us INR 280 every-time we work hard to earn INR 1000.Now let us compare what is Illegal and what is legal. Being a biker, the best analogy that comes to my mind is the following. Buying a cigarette from the store is perfectly legal as the government collects tax from the smoker and the manufacturer of the cigarettes. Now in case of banned drugs like weed or cocaine, growing them or consuming them is ILLEGAL.. And the govt does not have any commercial tax implication on them since they are illegal and it isn’t allowed to cultivate or sell or consume them.
Now what the govt is doing in case of aftermarket accessories such as horns, lights, exhausts and so on is that they allow the manufacturer to make them so they can collect 28% of the revenue and run behind the consumers and fine them for consuming those products. Thereby various departments getting to earn (steal) money from public. The govt who has allowed or authorised the manufacturing of the accessories does not have a certification organisation to certify those accessories that fall under the prescribed limits for city use. This is lousy implementation of the rule or policies.
The departments and its human resources who are entrusted with implementing the law / policy have no clue as to how the law has to be implemented. It’s a shame that we live in a country that knows to make laws but fails to understand the sane way to implement them. One department of the same govt encourages manufacturing of the product that their other department chases and slaps fine for the use of it. Where on earth can this system be called a sane one?
Slapping heavy fines are the easiest way for the traffic department to achieve their collection targets. Where does the money collected as fines go ? No one knows and nobody cares to know. If the govt wants to call the aftermarket accessory as illegal, they should stop collecting taxes from the manufacturers and also return them the tax collected so far on a product that they deem to be illegal for consumers to buy.If they want to enjoy earning the 28% of the revenue from the manufacturers of the aftermarket accessories, they should stop calling it illegal and hold their uniformed men from harassing and slapping fines for the consumers who buy them paying the govt the required taxes.
The traffic department goes to the extent of destroying the accessory owned by the consumer in creative ways to gain popularity on social media. Little do they know that they are bending the law and destroying somebody’s property without their consent. This is what I see as the only illegal activity in the entire cycle of manufacturing and buying and consuming the product. None of the rules in the law book that they seem to be following states that the product needs to be destroyed or confiscated by the department and publicise their atrocity on the social media.
But still they do as if the rules don’t apply to them and they are above the law. No general public is allowed to question if the cop is caught riding without a helmet or driving without wearing seat belts... This is a sad reality of the country we live in and we the public are facing the wrath of the uninformed govt departments who implement the law as they understand it rather than how it should be understood.It is very easy to call a product illegal but it is impossible to blame any govt employee (particularly uniformed) about their illegal implementation of the law. You may agree to this or not, upto you! RIDE SAFE!!
It is finally left to you to call the aftermarket accessory illegal or not even after the govt has collected their dues on the product.