J&K HC issues notices to Transport deptt officials on contempt plea on re-registration of vehicles
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued in-person notices to Commissioner/Secretary Transport department, Transport Commissioner and in-charge RTO Kashmir on a contempt petition over a fresh circular issued on June 10 this year on re-registration of the vehicles with outside numbers and levying token tax on them in the union territory.
The notices were issued to Hirdesh Kumar, Commissioner Secretary to Government, Transport department; Pradeep Kumar, Transport Commissioner, and Manzoor Ahmad; in-charge Regional Transport Officer to explain under which provisions of law they are demanding token tax from the people having purchased their vehicles from outside of J&K.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar issued the notices observing that the statement of facts, filed by the J&K Transport department, do not reveal the provision under which the department can realize “tax again” on a motor vehicle on which a life time tax has already been paid in a different state.
In the contempt petition, the petitioner one Zahoor Ahmad Bhat contended that the fresh circular issued by the Commissioner/Secretary Transport department was against the “purport” of the High Court’s April 29 judgment by virtue of which RTO Kashmir’s order regarding re-registration of the vehicles bought from outside J&K was quashed.
The April 29, 2021 division bench judgment of J&K High Court had said “where the life time tax has been levied and paid on a motor vehicle at the point of the registration of a vehicle, no further tax can be levied and demanded on the said vehicle on it being removed from one state to another.”
However, it said, that 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/UT for the assignment of the new registration mark and once the life time tax has been levied and paid on a motor vehicle at the point of the registration of a vehicle, no further tax can be levied and demanded on the vehicle, on it being removed from one state to another.
Senior advocate Faisal Qadiri, who represented the petitioner said that despite the April 29 judgment and order, the Transport department was demanding 9 percent token tax from the owners of the vehicles, who have applied for assignment of new registration mark in the J&K even though their vehicles are duly registered outside J&K and have already paid life time tax on those vehicles.
Advocate Aman Ali, counsel appearing for the Transport department, filed statement of facts.
While taking it on record, the court however observed that statement of facts falls short of indicating a provision under which the Transport department can realize tax again on a motor vehicle on which a life time tax has already been paid in a different state.
“In view of the facts and circumstances, we direct for issuing notice to (Commissioner/Secretary to Transport department, Transport Commissioner and in-charge RTO Kashmir ) in person, who may file their response within one month,” the court said and posted the contempt petition on August 24.