HC Says No To PIL On Re-Registration Of Outside Vehicles

Police checks document of vehicle brought from outside | KO file photo

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea regarding re-registration of outside vehicles as Public Interest Litigation even as it ordered its listing on Monday with a petition pending before its single Bench.

“List this petition along with the record of (a plea pending before court) on 19.04.2021. This petition would not be treated as PIL,” a bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal said.

The petitioner, Irshad Hussain Munshi, a resident of Buchpora Srinagar, has sought directions to the concerned authorities to quash RTO Kashmir’s circular dated March 27, mandating the vehicle owners who have purchased their vehicles bearing outside registration number to apply for a new registration as per the provisions of Section 47/50 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988 within a prescribed period of 15 days, failing which action as warranted shall be initiated against them.

He also sought directions also clarify by way of a circular or order on the issue of levying of tax on the vehicles purchased outside J&K if the previous owner of the vehicle has already paid the tax on the vehicle.

He also sought directions to clarify by way of circular from which period the tax is to be levied on the vehicles.

Munshi has also sought directions to the concerned not to seize or impound or fine the vehicles bearing outside registration number in pursuance of the RTO’s circular.

He also sought direction to the authorities concerned to give the public ample period of time for submitting heir documents for re-registration and also sought directions to amend/relax the rules in order to avoid inconvenience to the general public.

Last week, a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey sought government’s response on a petition filed by another individual. Advocate General D C Raina, questioned the maintainability of a petition challenging authority of the Regional Transport Officer, Kashmir, vis-à-vis issuance of a Circular on March 27 last.

The Advocate General further submitted that in implementation and adherence to the law and in application of Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, read with Section 50 and 54, the officials have the authority to seek registration of the vehicle which remained in the J&K for a period exceeding 12 months.

Earlier, Faisal Qadri, senior counsel for the petitioner, invited attention of the Court to section 46, 47 and 50 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, to indicate that the scheme of law provides that when a motor vehicle registered in one State has been kept in another State, for a period exceeding twelve months, the owner of the vehicle shall, within such period and in such form containing such particulars as may be prescribed by the Central Government, apply to the Registering Authority, within whose jurisdiction the vehicle then is, for the assignment of a new registration mark.

Therefore, he submitted that it is the Central Government which can prescribe the period and form in which the vehicle is required to be registered by the registering authority.

He also submitted that in the event the RTO Kashmir’s circular is given effect, it will frustrate the object of Section 47 which is sought to be implemented by the RTO Kashmir.

In support of his submissions, the senior counsel also referred to and relied upon the judgment of the High Court of Karnataka delivered— Jagdev Biradar v. State of Karnataka.

“Prima facie there appears to be a consensus over the fact that while adhering to the provisions of law, the Competent Authority can seek such response from the owners whose vehicle remains in the State other than the one from where the vehicle is purchased for a period exceeding 12 months, but the question is raised as to who that Competent Authority is?”

Subsequently, “feeling it appropriate”, the court had asked that to file their response so that the controversy is set at rest. (GNS)

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