Srinagar, April 21: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday asked Regional Transport Officer Kashmir to file affidavit before it by tomorrow, indicating therein as to what necessitated the issuance of March 27 circular, mandating the vehicle owners who have purchased their vehicles bearing outside registration number to apply for a new registration within fortnight.
A division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul also made it clear that pendency of the petitions would not be an impediment for traffic 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 into the territorial limits Jammu and Kashmir. However, the court said that such exercise shall be undertaken by the officials of the transport department only.
Earlier, RTO Kashmir, who was present through virtual mode, submitted that the decision to notify the circular was taken in a meeting convened by the Secretary to the Government, Transport Department for ensuring screening of the vehicle which bears the non-local registration. The officer upon being pointedly asked by the court as to whether any exercise was undertaken to meet the requirements of Section 46, 47 and 50 of the Motor Vehicles Act by the Transport Department, he submitted that he has no records to that effect.
“Since the officer was not in a position to satisfactorily demonstrate the origin of the circular and his authority to issue it, the court feels it appropriate to ask the officer to file his affidavit before the court by tomorrow (April 22), indicating therein as to what necessitated the issuance of circular and remain present in person along with records on the next date,” the court ordered as per GNS.
The Secretary to the Government, Transport Department, Civil Secretariat, Jammu, shall also remain present through virtual mode on April 21, the court said further.
Last week, the court had also directed the authorities to file response to the petition filed by one Irshad Hussain Munshi, a resident of Buchpora Srinagar. The court has however already declined to hear the plea as a Public Interest Litigation.
The petitioner, Munshi, 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. gns