By Bench & Law
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has closed down the contempt proceedings against the Regional Transport Office Kashmir after the court was informed that the judgement dated 29 April, 2021 has been complied with.

The bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Kazmi Khajuria closed the proceedings in view of the submission made that the court order passed in April 2021 has been complied by the concerned authorities.

The court while taking the submission on record said the contempt petition has become infructuous and therefore the proceedings are closed down.

Earlier the court on April 29, 2021 had quashed the circular of Regional Transport Office Kashmir asking for re-registration of vehicles purchased outside Jammu and Kashmir region for ‘being without any authority’ and ‘not in tune with Rule 54 of Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989.’

The then judgement passed by the court of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul had said that the impugned circular issued by RTO Kashmir is “unnecessary”.
The court had recorded that the impugned circular passed is 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 impugned circular, but while doing so we do not by any stretch of imagination take away the powers of the Central Government/Government of Jammu and Kashmir to deal with the eventuality of screening, scrutinizing, verifying the validity/genuineness of documents of a vehicle, having outside registration and making entry in the Union Territory of J&K,” the court had recorded and directed.

The Bench had also said, “We feel it necessary to make it clear to the respondents that mere quashing of the impugned circular does not take away the authority of the respondents from dealing with the cases of those vehicle owners, who have got their vehicles registered outside the Union Territory of JK, but after making entry in the Union Territory of JK and remained for a period exceeding 12 months”.

The court had said it requires assignment of new registration mark in tune with the application of Section 47, but for that some mechanism as agreed by the Principal Secretary to Government, Transport Department is to be placed in vogue with due adherence to compliance of Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

The court had reiterated that if the vehicle once registered in any State in India, it shall not be required to be registered elsewhere in India. But when the Motor Vehicle registered in one State has been kept in another State for a period of exceeding 12 months, the owner shall apply to the Registering Authority within whose jurisdiction the vehicle is for the assignment of new registration mark.

“Therefore, a life time tax that is levied at the point of registration of a vehicle in terms of Section 3 of the Motor Vehicles Act cannot be levied on a vehicle registered, merely on a presumption that a vehicle registered outside Union Territory of JK has remained in the Union Territory of J&K for a period exceeding 12 months,” bench said.

The court by a writ of certiorari quashed the impugned circular “to the extent of asking the petitioners to have their vehicles registered for assignment of new registration mark with the respondent No. 3, without their declaration in tune with the mandate of Rule 54 of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 and without providing any mechanism is quashed.”

“By a writ of mandamus, the respondents are directed 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,” court directed.
The court also said, “we leave it open for the respondents to screen, scrutinize, verify, validity/genuineness of documents of any vehicle entering in Union Territory of J&K from outside having outside registration.”

Earlier petitioner, Zahoor Ahmad Bhat through his lawyer Faisal Qadri had moved before court seeking quashing of the Circular for being passed without any jurisdictions and authority and had filed the contempt petition for implementation of the court orders.

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