Is RTO authority to seek re-registration of outside vehicles?

HC seeks response as Govt defends It

Srinagar: The government has defended its order on re-registration of outside vehicles which “remained in the J&K for a period exceeding 12 months” even as J&K High Court asked it to file reply if the Regional Transport Officer has the authority under law to issue the circular in this regard.

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, 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.

The Advocate General submitted before a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey  that no cause of action has accrued to the petitioner—Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Jawaharnagar Srinagar— with reference to violation of any of his rights as regards the action taken by the officials.

He 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, according to GNS Correspondent.

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 asked that to file their response so that the controversy is set at rest.

The government has been asked to file the reply by or before April 15.

“The appearance of the Advocate General in the matter is expected to take care of the apprehension that the senior counsel for the petitioner has projected vis-à-vis seizure of the vehicles at the hands of the Police under the garb of the impugned circular.”   (GNS)

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