HC quashs RTO Kashmir’s circular for re-registration of non J&K vehicles

Vehicles passing through a waterlogged road during rainfall in Srinagar on Monday. UNI

Srinagar: The Jammu Kashmir High Court Thursday quashed a circular issued by Regional Transport Officer, (RTO) Kashmir for re-registration of vehicles purchased outside Jammu and Kashmir .
The court while disposing off the petitions remarked that the impugned circular to the extent of asking the petitioners to have their vehicles registered for assignment of new registration mark with the respondent department without their declaration in tune with the mandate of Rule 54 of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 and without providing any mechanism, is quashed.
The division bench of Justices, Ali Mohammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul directed the respondents to have the compliance of Section 47 of the Act, read with Rule 54 of Central Motor Vehicles undertaken for assignment of new registration mark of the vehicles.
In a 28 page judgement, the court held that they leave it open for the respondents to screen, scrutinize, verify, validity and genuineness of documents of any vehicle entering in J&K from outside, having outside registration.
The bench held that the impugned circular issued by RTO Kashmir is unnecessary, as being without authority to the extent of warning the genuine owners of the vehicles having outside registration and making entry in J&K, for their assignment of new registration mark compulsory is contrary to Rule 54 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.
“Therefore, we are inclined to quash the said circular, but while doing so we do not by any stretch of imagination take away the powers of the Central government or government of J&K to deal with the eventuality of screening, scrutinizing, verifying the validity, genuineness of documents of a vehicle, having outside registration and making entry in J&K.
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 filed by Zahoor Ahmad Bhat and Irshad Hussain Munshi challenged the circular and sought to quash the circular for being 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 had sought a direction to the government to adhere to the Act in respect of the assignment of new registration mark to the vehicles bought from outside J&K.

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