April 2021 News

High Court Calls Transport Secretayr To Clarify Vehicle Re-registration Order

21 April 2021

Srinagar: The Jammu Kashmir High Court Wednesday has called Secretary Transport department to appear before the court on Thursday to clarify the official poisition on a circular regarding re-registration of non-JK vehicles. since the Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Kashmir could not clarify his position on this. The direction came after RTO Kashmir submitted before the court that the decision to notify the impugned circular was taken in a meeting convened by the Secretary Transport Department to ensure screening of the vehicles which bear non-local registration. The officer, when asked by the court as to whether any exercise is undertaken to meet the requirements of Section 46, 47 and 50 of the Motor Vehicles Act by the Transport department, submitted that he has no records to that effect. The division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul, after hearing the officer recorded that the officer was not in a position to satisfactorily demonstrate the origin of the impugned circular and his authority to issue it. In this connection, the court directed the officer to file his affidavit before it indicating therein as to what necessitated the issuance of such circular and remain present in person along with records by today. Meanwhile, the bench also made it clear that the pendency of these petitions would not form any impediment for the transport authorities to screen the vehicles with non-local registration mark for checking their veracity vis-a-vis the documents and the bonafide entry of such vehicles into the territorial limits of J&K. 'Such exercise, however, shall be undertaken by the officials of the transport department only,' the bench directed. Previously, the court had said that 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 remain in the state other than 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?' On March 27, this year, RTO Kashmir had issued a circular for re-registration of vehicles purchased outside JK. The circular has made it mandatory for owners who have purchased vehicles bearing outside J&K Registration Numbers to apply for a new Registration Mark as per the provisions of Section 47-50 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and Rule 54 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 within a period of 15 days failing which, it said, action as warranted would be initiated against them. The petitions challenging the circular stated that the circular issued by the RTO, Kashmir, was in contravention of Section 47 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988. 'A perusal of Section 47 would reveal that the jurisdiction for assigning a new registration mark on a vehicle is within the jurisdiction of the Central Government,' it stated. The petitioners have submitted that for the implementation of Section 47 and for the assigning of a new Registration Mark, the vehicle removed from one State to the other must have been kept in the other state for a continuous period of more than 12 months. As per the petition, the respondents after issuance of the circular had resorted to en-masse seizure of vehicles without following the provisions of the law and in absence of any authority for seizing the vehicles, contravening the provisions of Section 47 of the Act of 1988.