HC says no indication of fresh tax in Transport Act

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, July 13: The High Court today sought personal response from Commissioner/Secretary Transport, Transport Commis-sioner and ARTO Srinagar indicating therein as to how and under what law they are demanding token tax from outside vehicles while applying for new registration mark in J&K UT.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar passed the direction in contempt proceedings in which petitioner is alleging violation of earlier judgment of the court whereby the previous circular of the Transport Department was quashed.
Court during the argument advanced by Senior counsel Syed Faisal Qadri in the matter informed the court that despite the judgment, the authorities are demanding 9 percent token tax from the owners of the vehicles, who have applied for assignment of new registration mark in the UT of J&K even though their vehicles are duly registered outside J&K and have already paid life time tax on those vehicles.
Counsel appearing for Transport authorities filed a statement of facts and court has taken the same on record. However, the statement of facts after its perusal, court said, falls short of indicating a provision under which the Transport Department can realize tax again on a motor vehicle on which a lifetime tax has already been paid in a different State.
“In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, we direct for issuing notice to Commissioner/ Secretary Transport, Transport Commissioner and ARTO Srinagar in person, who may file their response within one month.
The earlier circular with regard to fresh registration of vehicles brought from outside J&K has been quashed by the court in April 29 this year and subsequently fresh circular has been issued in this regard which as per the petitioner is in contravention to the judgment of the Division Bench.
The fresh Circular which is under challenge in the instant contempt petition has been issued by the Commissioner/Secretary to Transport-Hirdesh Kumar directing all the RTO and ARTOs that no person shall be allowed to drive any motor vehicle and no owner of the vehicle shall cause or permit the vehicle to be driven in any public place or in any other place unless the vehicle is registered in accordance with the MV Act 1988.
The Court had also clarified that the Transport Authority has powers to deal with the cases, which fall under Section 50 of the Motor Vehicles Act, as the matters which fall under the application of Section 50 are not the subject in these writ petitions.
The Division Bench while passing the judgment on the issue has provided that a vehicle once registered in any State of India, shall not be required to be registered elsewhere in India and a motor vehicle registered in one state and, if kept for a period exceeding 12 months in another State, shall apply to the Registering Authority of the new State for the assignment of the new registration mark where the life time tax has been levied and paid on a motor vehicle at the point of the registration of a vehicle. Court has already clarified that no further tax can be levied and demanded on the said vehicle, on it being removed from one State to another.