Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday directed Regional Transport Officer Kashmir to be present personally before the court with all the relevant records to explain his position on the circular which he notified on the issue of re-registration of vehicles with non-J&K registration.
The court on earlier hearing 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 Monday, when the matter came up for hearing before the division bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul, the court sought personal appearance of the RTO Kashmir on April 21 with all relevant records to explain the circular he passed last month.
“Registrar Judicial shall allow the Regional Transport Officer to enter the premises for his appearance on the appointed date,” the court directed.
In the meantime, a response sought by court from government was filed while a notice was also issued in a similar writ filed before the court. Earlier, Advocate General, D C Raina who on the last hearing was asked by the court to assist in the matter questioned the maintainability of the writ petition on the grounds that no cause of action had accrued to the petitioner with reference to violation of any of his rights qua the action taken by respondents.
The AG further had 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 respondents have the authority to seek re-registration of the vehicles which have been purchased outside but have been in J&K for a period exceeding 12 months.
The petitioner, Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, a lawyer, had moved a plea through his counsel Altaf Mehraj stating that the circular issued by the RTO, Kashmir, was in contravention of Section 47 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and had asked the court to direct the respondents to refrain from seizing vehicles under the impugned circular.
The petitioner stated through the plea that a perusal of Section 47 would reveal that the power/jurisdiction for assigning a new registration mark on a vehicle is within the power/jurisdiction of the Central Government.
“In absence of the delegation of the powers otherwise vesting with the central government, the respondents have no authority to issue a circular under challenge in terms of the instant Petition. In other words, it is submitted that the impugned Circular has been issued without jurisdiction, and as such, is liable to be quashed,” the petitioner stated.
It was also submitted that in case the impugned order is implemented, the petitioners as well as similarly placed persons would be subjected to double taxation by the respondents, which is in conflict with the Constitution of India.