Updated April 21st, 2024 at 09:37 IST

'Flawed': HC quashes Maha govt's circular imposing new conditions on BH series vehicle registration

Patil sought that the transport commissioner's circular be quashed and an order be passed to grant his vehicle registration under the BH series.

Reported by: Digital Desk
The HC bench noted the circular issued by the transport commissioner was “clearly in excess of the jurisdiction and without any authority in law.” | Image:PTI
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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has quashed a circular issued by Maharashtra's transport commissioner imposing certain conditions while deciding on applications for registration of vehicles under the BH series. 

A division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla, in its judgment on April 12, said the circular was issued “without any authority and, hence, flawed and illegal.” The court was hearing a petition filed by a civil judge challenging the circular and denial of his application seeking registration of his vehicle under the BH series, which was introduced by the government of India in 2021 to facilitate convenient transfer of vehicles in different states and Union Territories.

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According to Mahendra Patil, senior civil judge in the Maharashtra State Judicial Services, he submitted his official identity card, which as per the conditions is the only compliance required to be furnished.

Patil's plea said when he made enquiries, he was informed that his application was rejected as he had not complied with certain other conditions imposed under a circular issued by the transport commissioner in February 2024.

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As per this circular, any government servant who wishes to seek BH series registration must, in addition to the official identity card, also furnish a certificate showing he has offices in other states, his stay at such states and his/her payment slips during the service tenure in such states.

Patil in his plea said the transport commissioner does not have any authority to issue such a circular, which is contrary to the provisions of rules framed by the Central government.

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He sought that the transport commissioner's circular be quashed and an order be passed to grant his vehicle registration under the BH series.

In his plea, Patil claimed he had complied with conditions mandated in the Central Motor Vehicles (Twentieth Amendment) Rules of 2021 for registration of vehicles under the BH series.

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The HC bench noted the circular issued by the transport commissioner was “clearly in excess of the jurisdiction and without any authority in law.” “In our considered view, the circular is flawed and illegal. The circular dated February 21, 2024 is declared to be illegal, arbitrary, and unconstitutional. It is hereby quashed,” the HC said.

The court directed authorities to grant registration to Patil's vehicle under the BH series within one week.

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The bench in its order said the central government has framed rules under the Central Motor Vehicles Act for registration of vehicles under the BH series.

The transport commissioner could not have issued such a circular in the absence of any power conferred on him under the rules to superimpose conditions on any applicant seeking registration of a vehicle under the BH series, the court said.

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“It was not permissible for the commissioner to impose conditions by such a circular to regulate registration of BH vehicles, which would nullify the Central Rules or create a regime which is contrary or defeat the provisions of the Central Rules,” the HC said.

The transport commissioner’s office opposed the plea, saying the circular was merely in the nature of guidelines issued to ensure the object of the Central Rules are achieved.

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If vehicles are given BH series registration without compliance of the circular then there would be loss of revenue, the transport commissioner's office further claimed.

It said even those government employees who are not normally transferred to other states are seeking benefit of the BH series.

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The transport department further claimed there are several monetary benefits for vehicles with BH series registration and, hence, the number of applications seeking registration under it was increasing exponentially. 

(With PTI inputs. Except for the headline, Republic has not edited the content.)

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Published April 21st, 2024 at 09:35 IST